As you saw in the morning post, John Calipari took his players in the Summer League out to dinner last night, and this morning, reflected on their journeys, particularly that of Isaiah Briscoe, who just signed a multi-year deal with the Orlando Magic after a year playing overseas.
“Happy for Isaiah, one of the toughest fighters we’ve ever had, getting a multiple-year contract in Orlando,” Cal tweeted. “He will will himself and his team into something special.”
After watching him in four practices, Magic assistant and summer league head coach Pat Delany agrees that Briscoe’s toughness can’t be taught.
“Toughness, competitiveness — that’s stuff that, as coaches, we can’t even teach,” Delany told the Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins. “It’s in his DNA. You can see that in him.”
Briscoe said his year abroad with BC Kalev helped him tune out distractions and refocus on his game, particularly, playing the point again.
“I always take criticism the right way and try to use it and help my game as much as possible,” Briscoe said. “But that was what I heard for the most part: work on my point guard skills. That’s what I did. I had a year away from all distractions — away from a lot of people — for me to actually focus and learn more about myself and work on my game and just polish myself up.”
Calipari said Briscoe’s story is a testament to how Kentucky prepares all of its players for the rigors of professional basketball, from first rounders to players who earn deals later on.
“Only players who have been through this truly understand how hard it is to play at Kentucky. The grind is hard. Sacrificing is hard. Dealing with the NOISE is hard. Trusting the process is hard. Everyone is on their own path and timetable, which makes it hard. The speed with which we have to learn and adapt is hard. It’s all hard, but it’s what ties us all together and make/ it rewarding for everyone involved, including ME! Thanks, guys!!!! #LaFamilia”
You can see Briscoe and the Magic take on the Brooklyn Nets at 5 p.m. tonight on NBATV.