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Isaiah Briscoe returns to Kentucky Wildcats

Zay is back.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The words all of Big Blue Nation wanted to hear were finally said on Wednesday.

Isaiah Briscoe announced he's returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season.

This past season as a freshman at UK, Briscoe excelled as a perimeter defender and rebounded very well for his position, but struggled with his jump-shooting and free-throw shooting, which really is what kept this talented guard from going to the NBA after one year.

Briscoe has the talent to play in the league, and there's no reason to think he won't with some more time and progress at the college level. Though he was projected as a first-round pick at the beginning of the season, Briscoe is now ranked as the 70-90 range by most draft services.

Initially when Briscoe opted to test the draft waters, it was common knowledge that the plan was for him is to come back, but he did well enough in workouts with NBA teams that he began feeling like jumping to the NBA might be his best option.

That's what Briscoe's father, George, said in multiple interviews this offseason as his son was going through the process.

"What I’ve been working on with my son is just getting his offense back, because he didn’t get a chance to show it last year," George said. "You don’t go from five months ago being a dominant scoring guard to going to school and not being able to perform, so I’ve got to get his confidence back.

"You don’t go to (the All-America Game) and win the 3-point contest, you don’t go to the (Nike Elite Youth Basketball League) and win the championship at the foul line with two seconds to go – you don’t do all that and then just lose it. We’ll get it back."

As we've mentioned time and time again, it takes just one NBA team to fall in love with a guy like Briscoe for him to make the NBA jump. Perhaps there were one or more teams who looked at the defensive force Briscoe was as a freshman and thought he could eventually revive that offensive game and become the kind of complete play we all thought Briscoe would be, which would have been good enough to be a first-round pick.

And let's not forget that this is a players-first program, and John Calipari wanted Zay to go through NBA workouts get feedback directly from scouts, coaches and executives about how he projects as an NBA prospect.

It's still unclear what Zay was told during these workouts, but it's a moot point now that he's returning to help UK become an even stronger Final four contender.