St. John’s and Coach Lavin didn’t Lose Isaiah Briscoe, He is Losing Them

The recruitment of Isaiah Briscoe has finally come to an end. A decision has been made. That decision is for Mr. Briscoe to take his talents South (Southwest) to Lexington, Kentucky.

Briscoe says he’s attracted to the way Coach Cal develops his guards and prepares them for the NBA.

Coach John Calipari is the big winner as he lands Briscoe and another top high school player, Skal Labissiere on the same day. Coach Cal isn’t done yet with a awesome list of A listers still considering Kentucky include Jaylen Brown (No. 2), Malik Newman (No. 3), Ivan Rabb (No. 5), Cheick Diallo (No. 7), Caleb Swanigan (No. 8), Stephen Zimmerman(No. 10), Brandon Ingram (No. 12), Antonio Blakeney (No. 14) and Carlton Bragg (No. 18).

If Coach Cal and Kentucky are the big winners, than St. Johns seems like the big loser.

Coach Steve Lavin had been recruiting Briscoe for over 3 years, and was even growing close to his family. Just hours before the decision, several different writers said this was a big day for the Red Storm. SBNation writer, Carmine Carcieri wrote this just moments before Briscoe picked big blue nation.

“Isaiah Briscoe loves New York City, Madison Square Garden and the St. John’s fans impressed him during Late Night Madness, but what has really stood out for the point guard is the way the program has treated him……….Lavin has always been a terrific recruiter, but this would be the best player he has brought in as the coach of the Johnnies. Briscoe would be a program changer as the New Jersey recruit is a strong combo-guard who certainly has a future in the NBA.”


It was almost a sure-thing that this kid from local New Jersey would head to Queens and put a program on his 6-3 frame.

Briscoe is opting to be one of the guys instead of THE MAN at St. Johns.. He would of been the GO-TO GUY with Lavin and the Storm, but instead he will be one of the guys.

He could be forever remembered as the player who brought basketball back to a school and a program that needs it more than Cleveland needed Lebron. Instead, he will just be another freshman face in Lexington.

Kentucky will have another great class, and will contend for the National Championship. Coach Cal will bring in former players like D-Rose and John Wall to compete against. Cal will line up the sneaker companies, and help to secure that his players get paid.

Briscoe picked the Blue Grass over the Big Apple.

Sure, Lexington is a college town. It is 100% all about College Basketball in the state of Kentucky. Everything is UK and U of L basketball in the state, but it has been that way for 100 years. Briscoe will have a great time, he will play on a great team, but he won’t be remembered any more than the long list of UK players who played in the NBA. Briscoe will get the true college experience in Lexington.

At Kentucky, Briscoe can be a basketball college kid in a town that loves college basketball. He won’t have to carry the program. He will play along side other great players and contend for a national championship.


Coach Lavin and St. Johns are going to feel like they missed out on a giant chance to move the program ahead, but in reality, Isaiah Briscoe is the big loser here.

An Isaiah Briscoe jersey from Kentucky will be worn by another player a year later, but an Isaiah Briscoe jersey from St. John’s would have been an instant classic worn by people like Jay-Z and Nas.

But there is a cost to be the boss, and if you want the Empire State to wear your basketball jersey, then you have to earn it.

I do, however, understand the reasoning behind the decision.

If he went and played for the Red Storm, it would be on him. Any type of tournament run would depend on the play of Briscoe and that alone. He would probably be the first and second option in the offense. His shoulders would have to carry the entire weight of the whole University.

It isn’t the same as Lebron leaving Cleveland to join up with D-Wade and Bosh, but it has that feeling. It is so similar that I can almost see Briscoe himself changing his mind to regret about his decision 5 years down the line when he is playing through 82 games in the Association.

St. Johns and Coach Lavin didn’t lose with Briscoe, Briscoe is losing his chance with them.


It’s important to note that Briscoe is opting to not sign his letter of intent until the spring signing period, which opens up the possibility of him committing to another school a few months down the line if he so chooses.

Written by Catfish Hughes

Catfish Hughes

Frank “Catfish” Hughes has been called, “Bob Knight’s Baby with Hip Hop that covers sports.” and “the future of sports writing!” He is an official member of the NSSA & USBWA. Catfish covers the Los Angeles Angeles as the official East Coast Voice of the Lakers, and owns the NBA media outlet, and was the host of Thru the Wire Sports Talk Radio which aired on both ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. Catfish is the head editor and chief here at the Boxing Globe. @CatfishHughes on twitter.