It’s a new day for Iona Basketball. Isaiah Washington is back home after transferring from the University of Minnesota. Although he had flashes of brilliance as a Golden Gopher, it was clear that the school wasn’t a good fit for him. After a very solid freshman campaign, his game retracted a bit his Sophomore season and got fewer minutes as a result. The Big Ten is one of the best leagues in the country and he got tested every game. He held his own on most nights but there were some nights that you could just tell that he needed a change of scenery in order to live up to his full potential. He has recently explained some of the perils he’s faced while in Minnesota. He needed to be back home. Back to his support system who loved him whether he scored 30 points or none at all. He wanted to stay close to family. Specifically, his grandmother who raised him in Harlem, NYC.
He had a lot of pressure on him since graduating from St. Raymond’s. He was ranked 62nd on ESPN’s top 100 High School Players list and the reining NY state Mr. Basketball. The Jellyfam was larger than life and expectations were through the roof. Fast forward to today and he now a Junior, back in the NYC area with a chip on his shoulder and as hungry as ever.
I just wasn’t myself (at Minnesota) and because of all the stuff going on back home, there was a lot on my mind… Coming back home, I feel that love again.Isaiah Washington
Being well known on Social Media platforms was a gift and a curse for Isaiah. The same fans who praised him when he was doing well were the same fans who crucified him when he was struggling. The Jellyfam collective is as close as you can get to young rockstars in New York City. Young people everywhere wanted to emulate the jelly finger roll layup that made Jellyfam famous. Being back home helps Isaiah get back some of the hometown fans and support system who started his basketball journey with him. He’s a few years older now and has that experience of playing at one of the highest levels in the country. He will be just fine once he gets to having fun again. He filled out a hardship waiver when he transferred, making him eligible to play right away instead of having to sit out a year. The MAAC is in trouble and fans of the Jellyfam should get ready for the Jelly show back in town.
On Saturday, November 2nd he made his Iona Debut to a slightly bigger crowd than the team usually expects for an exhibition game. The four-time MAAC champs are ready to make a run for their 5th title. Iona took on Mount Saint Vincent in a game that didn’t meany anything for the standings but meant everything for Washington. The first look at Washington at his new home was memorable. He scored 26 points on 9-12 shooting, grabbed 10 Rebounds and dishes out 6 assists. At times it simply looked too easy for him and he did what he wanted to on the court, a good sign for the Gales.
Aside from Washington, Iona will look for E.J. Crawford, Tajuan Agee, and fellow transfer Forward Mo Thiam to push the pace for the Gales this season. We will continue to follow the career of Isaiah Washington as he settles into his new home. Washington is a great young man. He inspires the youth every chance he gets and shows them that hard work and dedication pay off in the long term. He now gets another chance to shine and I couldn’t be more prouder. We have been fans since day 1 and hope that he continues to develop and mature his game.
The Freshman 15: The NCAA newcomers you need to know
College basketball is in full swing and every year we compile a list of the freshmen who you should keep a close eye on. Which freshman will have the biggest impact this year? Who will go on to having an illustrious professional career? Will these players be one and done? We don’t have all the answers but we’ve gathered some honorable mentions and ranked the top 15:
Nico Manion, Guard, Arizona
Manion is the battery that powers the Arizona Wildcats. The crafty point guard plays with such a confidence and poise way beyond his 18 years. Many say that Manion has a chance to be the best Arizona guard since Mike Bobby. If that is true, the Wildcats are in good hands with him running the show. Look for Manion and company to make a run for the PAC-12 title.
Eric Dixon, Power Forward, Villanova
Dixon is a 6’8 270lb power forward who can operate in the paint or step out into the perimeter and hit 3’s if needed. A unique combination of size and strength that will greatly help the Villanova Wildcats this season. He has great footwork for a player his size and has a plethora of moves to create separation. Once near the rim he can finish well and has a soft touch on his shot. If Dixon can ramp up his level of aggression he would truly be an unstoppable force at the collegiate level.
Joe Girard III, SG, Syracuse
The NY state HS all-time scoring leader can still put points on the board. He’s instant offense and has all the tools needed to be the next great guard out of Syracuse. As a ball handler, he can split double teams and penetrate and finish with contact among the trees while also getting absurd elevation on his perimeter jump shot. Off the ball, he is even more dangerous, finding holes in the defense and running off-screens to catch and shoot in one fluid motion. He’ll put up big numbers once he gets comfortable with the Boeheim system.
Cassius Stanley, SG, Duke
The 6’5 Cassius Stanley can simply fly. He is a freakish athlete who finds his way to the rim by any means necessary. His ducks electrify the crown and pump his team up. He is highly effective in the open floor and is pretty much a guaranteed bucket headed to the rim with a full head of steam. He plays with an incredible sense of urgency and doesn’t take any plays off. He will need to improve is perimeter shooting and his half court offense for the next level.
DJ Carton, PG, Ohio State
DJ Carton is a playmaker. He is an effective Point guard who is most often under control. He has a great feel for the game and shoots the ball with good accuracy. Carton has a healthy aggression and looks to score often but as a pass first point guard, he tries to find the open man and keep the defense on their toes. With some more experience under his belt he will be a very good guard at the collegiate level.
Kofi Cockburn, Center, Illinois
The 6-foot-11, 290-pound big man looks to make an immediate impact at the University of Illinois this season. Cockburn is a monster around the rim with his ability to rebound, dunk and score on layups. An imposing presence in the paint, Kofi looks to play physical and do all of the dirty work it takes to win games. To be such a big guy he runs the floor exceptionally well and can finish well in transition. The Fighting Illini fans are happy that Cockburn suits up for their team and not the other way around.
Al-Amir Dawes, PG/SG, Clemson
Clemson definitely got better with the addition of Dawes. A cerebral point guard who is as quick as lightning, Dawes will make an immediate impact for the Tigers. He has the ability to hit open shots when the opportunity presents itself and operates well in pick and roll offense. The Tigers will look for him to bring his leadership qualities to the team. He does a great job keeping the defense guessing and getting his teammates involved.
Isaiah Stewart, Forward/Center, Washington Huskies
The new big man on campus, Stewart has developed into a force to be reckoned with at the college level. With a reported 7’4” wingspan, Stewart has some serious length that help him dominate on the boards. He is a physically gifted, high motor big man who can run the floor and finish in transition well. Stewart uses his strength and quickness to create mismatches on the interior and is unafraid of contact. He will also look to take advantage of his shot blocking ability this year.
Scottie Lewis, Guard, Florida Gators
Lewis is a freakish athlete who can get to the rim and finish with ease. Known for his athleticism, Lewis plays the game at a different speed than his peers. He has been a lockdown defender and will soon take that role on at Florida. He has developed his outside shot and is one of the hardest working players in the country. His main attribute is his first step that allows him to blow past defenders and get to the paint. Once in the paint he uses his athleticism to throw down a myriad of dunks that are in his arsenal. Look for Lewis to become one of the faves of NCAA basketball in the near future.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Forward, Villanova
The 6’8, 235 lbs Robinson-Earl will be a major contributor for Big East reigning champions Villanova Wildcats. His mixture of size and athleticism makes him a tough cover for anybody in the country. His versatility allows him to play multiple positions on the court and gives the Wildcats much needed firepower. Robinson-Earl is the son of Lester Earl, who was a 1996 McDonald’s All-American and played collegiately for LSU and Kansas.
Jahmius Ramsey, SG/PG, Texas Tech
Ramsey is a solid guard with an extreme upside to his game. A blue collar player with an extremely high basketball IQ with athleticism to match. He gets to his spots easily and has a nice touch around the rim. At the collegiate level he will need to improve his outside shooting because defenses in the Big 12 will be stingy. Texas Tech will use him right away and we see him being one of the main contributors on that team.
Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
The 5 star recruit Achiuwa was brought to Memphis to secure their chances of a National Title. With Weissman eligibility hanging in the balance, Achiuwa will be the top dog. The 6’9 Forward can do everything on the court and brings length and physicality to the floor for the Tigers. He can lock up on defense and will thrive because he is so versatile. There aren’t many players at the college level who can contain him once he gets momentum.
Anthony Edwards, SG/PG, Georgia
Edwards is another player who can potentially go number 1 in the upcoming NBA draft. Staying home to attend The University of Georgia, Edwards is destined for stardom. The 6’5 shooting guard is so crafty with the ball in his hands and is a pure explosive playmaker off the bounce. Trying to guard him is almost impossible because he’s so elusive with his dribble. He’s either going to score or go to the free throw line. When you have size and athleticism to match the competition is in a lose lose situation.
Tyrese Maxey, Guard, Kentucky
Maxey can flat out score the basketball. A superb talent, Maxey is one of those players who doesn’t come around that often. He has a great basketball mind and rarely makes a bad play. At 6’3 Maxey has good size and plays either guard positions with ease. John Calipari will look to Maxey to be one of the leaders on this years squad. He needs to maximize his output now because he will be a sure shot at being one and done. We will be hearing his name a lot this year.
****James Weissman, C, Memphis Tigers
The versatile big man from Memphis was the nations top recruit as a High School Senior. Projected as the 1st pick of the 2020 NBA draft Wiseman has eligibility issues that may threaten his ability to play for Memphis this season. The University is currently working with the NCAA staff to restore his playing status. His chances to play this season seems unlikely but you never know what will happen. Even if he never plays for Memphis again he will still go on to the NBA and become a multi Millionaire.
**** Wiseman may be ineligible to play this season for Memphis.
Cole Anthony, Guard, University of North Carolina.
Cole has been on top of the food chain for a long time. The dynamic point guard can do it all and has been putting on a show early in his collegiate career. The attribute that is most impressive with Cole is the confidence he plays with. He never seems out of control on any plays and he is very efficient when he gets to his spots. He can pass exceptionally well and uses the pick and roll effectively. Cole will be one of the top picks in the upcoming NBA draft. Just wait on it.
Josh Green, Arizona
Kahlil Whitney, University of Kentucky
Oscar Tshiebwe, West Virginia
Vernon Carey, Duke
Josiah-Jordan James, Tennessee
Patrick Williams, Florida State
We will keep tabs on each of these young players and so should you. We will revisit this list in March and see how these players have matured over the course of the season.
Memphis’ CBB Star James Wiseman Ruled Ineligible By NCAA
Today has been a rollercoaster of emotions for No. 14 Memphis University basketball star and project top pick of the 2020 NBA Draft James Wiseman.
On Friday afternoon, the NCAA announced that Wiseman was no longer eligible to play after investigations revealed that current head coach Penny Hardaway gave Wiseman’s family $11,500 to assist them in their move to Memphis.
The payments were made while Hardaway was deemed as a booster and not hired by the program, but his assistance still considered a violation by NCAA standards. In a statement from Memphis University, the program claims that Wiseman did not know of the payments.
With a 6 pm CST tip-off against UIC Friday night, it was thought that Wiseman would be forced to sit out during the contest. But, after Memphis filed an emergency temporary restraining order against the NCAA, a judge was able to halt the ruling and allow Wiseman to play.
However, the restraining order only slows the lowering of the NCAA’s hammer of judgment on Wiseman. Without a successful appeal process from Wiseman’s legal team, Memphis will likely lose their star for the season.
Wiseman is considered to be the crown jewel of Memphis’ No. 1 ranked recruiting class as high expectations have been placed upon the program this season.
Wiseman had 28 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks in his only game this year during a season-opening win over South Carolina State.
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