Somewhere between the rise of sophomore guard Tyler Ulis, to the hyping up of Skal Labissiere, to even the recruitment of Jamal Murray, it seems Isaiah Briscoe has become an afterthought when it comes to next year's Kentucky Wildcats.
In fact, it feels like Briscoe is in a similar position to that of Eric Bledsoe was in 2009. Bledsoe was also an afterthought in UK's much-hyped 2009 class that included superstar point guard John Wall in addition to DeMarcus Cousins. Though he didn't get much preseason hype, Bledsoe went on to be a key cog in the Cats' 35-3 run before becoming a star in the NBA.
John Calipari thinks Briscoe can follow a similar path to that of Bledsoe. Cal held a teleconference Thursday for an NBA Draft Q&A session to discuss UK's seven potential draftees. He also talked about some of his incoming Cats, specifically Briscoe and how he compares to Bledsoe.
"One, his physical play. Because of how FIBA is played. I coached obviously the DR team, national team, for a couple of years – it's such a different game that his physicalness will be fine. Plus, he's going to add a maturity to that team because they got a lot of young players who have been in, you know, FIBA basketball before in the 16s and 17s but this is a different deal. You're going against now different, older players, so I think he's going to be fine.
"What I'm happy about, for us, he's going to be like Eric Bledsoe was a guy that can play the point, that can play the two, that can be in pick-and-rolls, that can shoot the ball, that at the end of the day is going to be in great condition and is really going to guard. So I'm excited about him. I think playing for Sean Miller and the guys, this is going to be a great experience."
The combination of Ulis and Briscoe could make this one of the best backcourts in college basketball if the freshman can become what Bledsoe was in college.