LEXINGTON, Ky. – After helping lead the Kentucky men’s basketball team to back-to-back Southeastern Conference championships (league and tournament) in 2016 and 2017, sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe (pictured) has decided to enter his name in the 2017 NBA Draft. He plans to sign with an agent, which would effectively end his career at UK.
The NBA Draft is June 22.
“BBN, thank you to the greatest fans in the entire world,” Briscoe said. “Thank you to Coach Cal, Coach KP (Kenny Payne), Coach Tony (Barbee), Coach JJ (Joel Justus), Coach Robes (John Robic), and (strength and conditioning coach) Rob (Harris). You helped me develop my game on the court and helped me grow as a man off the court.
“Thank you to my brothers. We've been through so much together and accomplished even more. Thank you to my family and friends. Without your support, I wouldn't be where I am now.
“It was a dream to play in front of BBN and an honor to wear K-E-N-T-U-C-K-Y across my chest. I'm ready for the next step and can't wait to begin the next journey.”
Briscoe, who played an integral part in each of UK’s last two NCAA Tournament runs, is the fourth underclassman from the 2016-17 Wildcats to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft. Freshman guards De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk have announced their intentions to declare for the draft and sign with an agent. Freshman forward Bam Adebayo plans to declare for the draft but will not hire an agent at this time, opening up the possibility of a return.
Players have until 11:59 p.m. ET on April 23 to submit their names for the 2017 NBA Draft.
“Isaiah is a winner,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “Physically and mentally he’s a pit bull with skills with the ball. We averaged nearly 30 wins a season over the last two years and Isaiah played a big part in all of them. Isaiah defends, he rebounds and he creates shots for others. I am so proud of his improvement over his time here and am looking forward to seeing his continued growth at the next level.”
Briscoe was one of the constants during UK’s league title and NCAA Tournament runs over the last two seasons. The Newark, New Jersey native, started 69 of the 70 games he played in and averaged 10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists during his two-year college career.
As one of the few returning players from a season ago, Briscoe’s leadership was instrumental in bringing together one of the youngest teams in the country and leading it to the top of the polls in November. Briscoe went on to average careers highs in points (12.1), rebounds (5.4) and assists (4.2) in 2016-17, the only player in the Southeastern Conference to average at least those numbers in all three categories. Briscoe scored in double figures in 23 of the 36 games he played in this season, scored 20 or more points in six games, and led the team in assists in 15 games.
Among his many highlights, Briscoe became the third Wildcat in program history to post a triple-double when he recorded 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the SEC opener at Ole Miss on Dec. 29.
Briscoe declared for the NBA Draft a season ago but returned for his sophomore year to continue to develop his game. The 6-foot-3 guard showed improvement in nearly every statistical category, including overall field-goal percentage (.470, up from .439 in his freshman season), free-throw percentage (.635, up from .460) and 3-pointers made (17, up from five).
Sports Illustrated named him a member of its five-man All-Glue Team this season for his leadership and intangibles.
The NBA Draft Combine will take place May 9-14 in Chicago.
Since Calipari joined the Wildcat program for the 2009-10 season, UK has produced 28 NBA Draft picks over seven seasons, more than double any other school. Included in the 28 are 21 first-round selections, three No. 1 overall picks, 11 top-10 selections and 14 lottery picks.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught