Despite recent struggles, Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe provides leadership for the young Wildcats and can help lead them to another national title.
It isn’t often that a sophomore will be considered a veteran influence on a national championship-contending team, but when you play the one-and-done game and put a lot of your hope on a talented group of freshmen like Kentucky head coach John Calipari does each year, having someone who has experienced the rigors of a full college season is vital.
That, plus his talent, is why Isaiah Briscoe is so crucial to the Wildcats’ hopes of bringing another title to Lexington, SEC Network broadcaster Dave Baker told Campus Insiders.
“The experience and leadership is critical. It’s also just as critical that he not try to be something he’s not and make bad plays. He may be inconsistent with the ball but he can absorb contact and finish as well as be a weapon on the defensive glass.”
Briscoe is averaging 13.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while Kentucky has run up a 22-5 record. His production has declined recently, though, including putting up just nine points in the 82-77 win at Georgia on Saturday.
While his numbers may be down, his leadership on the floor is something that freshman phenoms Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox count on when the game is on the line.
“He’s a steadying influence and has been through the wars before,” Baker said.
Monk and Fox, who are No. 1 and No. 2 in points per game on the team, combining for 37 per outing, will soon enter their first NCAA Tournament and face the pressure that comes with playing in the Kentucky uniform, where anything but a national title is a disappointment.
Baker sees this year’s edition of March Madness as being wide open, with the nets possibly being cut down by the team that has the player with the hottest hand.
“I think this is a year, much like when Kemba Walker carried UConn [in 2011], that one guy can get hot and carry a team. The advantage Calipari has is he’s got more than one guy capable of doing that.”
If Briscoe reverses his present course and becomes that player for the Wildcats, he will never have to buy another meal in the Bluegrass State again.