Tomorrow will be a homecoming of sorts for Newark, New Jersey native Isaiah Briscoe, who will have plenty of family and friends in the stands at the Barclays Center. John Calipari’s players haven’t always handled their homecomings well and yesterday, Cal said he hopes Briscoe doesn’t let it distract him because right now, the Cats can’t afford for him to lose his focus.
“I don’t know. I hope so because we’re going to need him to thrive. We don’t have enough guys. You take one guy like Alex or you take one guy like Marcus, you take one guy like Tyler — you take one guy out of this mix, we’re really not nearly the same team.”
Briscoe’s development so far is one of the most underrated storylines of the season, in my opinion, and Calipari said all of the feedback he’s hearing from Briscoe’s friends and family in New York is overwhelmingly positive.
“Everybody that’s watched — from New York — that’s watched Isaiah cannot believe that he’s playing the way he’s playing,” Cal said. “One of the best defensive rebounding guards in the country. He’s in an attack mode, north and south, he’s not east and west anymore. They’re watching this saying, like, ‘Wow.’ They look at his body and they say, ‘What?’ He’s not even the same. That’s what I want to hear about guys that come here, like, wow.”
“Going home is always tough,” Cal said, bringing up the one flaw in Briscoe’s game right now. “He hasn’t been shooting the ball well and I told him, he shot it 72 percent from the foul line in high school. I don’t understand why he’s shooting so poorly. Part of it is how we play he’s probably never defended like that and he goes to the line and he’s not used to how he feels. That may be part of it. I think that’s a part of all my players when they first work for the first time, the free-throw shooting goes south.”
Let’s hope he feels a little more at home from the line tomorrow afternoon.