North Augusta, S.C. — Lost in the hoopla of the Nike Peach Jam and storylines abound is the headline regarding the absence of arguably the top player in the circuit this season, Isaiah Collier.
Two sessions into what was turning out to be one of the most dominant performances of the spring — top five in the Nike EYBL in scoring (19 points a game) and No. 1 in assists (6.5 per game) — Collier suffered a knee injury during USA Basketball tryouts that sidelined him for the rest of the summer.
“I hate that I can’t play at Peach Jam,” says Collier, who didn’t make the trip to Peach Jam with his Skills Factory (Ga.) team this week. “But everything happens for a reason. The good thing is that there was no tear, so it turned out not to be as serious as it could’ve been; they just had to clean it out a little and now I’m ready to be back out there.”
Collier’s dominance this spring should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. One of the 6'4'' point guard’s greatest strength’s is his innate ability to remain consistent no matter the opponent. Last year he led the Nike EYBL E16’s in scoring at 23 points a game and followed that up with a dominant junior season, averaging 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists a game for Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.).
“The biggest thing for me is to keep my teammates motivated and having fun,” Collier says. “That’s why I love to share the ball so much. Nothing makes your guys happier than getting the ball where they like it. That’s been my focus all summer, so that made not playing a little tougher.”
Still, in hindsight, Collier counted the time away as a blessing in disguise in order to navigate through the strenuous recruitment process. After taking official visits to Cincinnati, Alabama, UCLA and USC, Collier will take his fifth visit official to Michigan from July 28–30.
Collier’s original plan was to take some time after the Michigan visit to reflect on his visits in order to close in on a decision, intentions he still plans to follow through on, only now recent interest from Kentucky has thrown in the infamous 11th-hour recruiting curveball.
“They reached out to see if I had interest in coming there,” Collier says. “It was exciting, but it threw me off a little bit because it’s so late; I’m about to go into my senior year. I talked to them last week, and I’m considering them. If they offer, then we’ll see how it goes from there.”
In the interim, Collier is prepping to make his return to the hardwood at the Stephen Curry Camp early next month before lacing ‘em up in the Under Armour Elite 24 a week later. As for a timeline for a decision, Collier is taking the slow and steady approach.
“I think I’ll have things done before my senior season,” Collier says. “But I’m not sure. I’m really having fun with the process. It’s not stressful for me because I remember that it’s a blessing to be in the position and that it only happens once. I know it weighs on my parents because they get called just as much as me.
“At the end of the day, I want to be somewhere that I’ll get a good education and in a system that gets up and down in transition, plays off the pick-and-roll with plenty of shooters around and good bigs. I want to win, that’s the main thing.”
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