By Kevin Callahan
Isaiah Briscoe isn’t exactly following his father’s footsteps, but the former University of Kentucky guard is hoping to walk where his father did.
Briscoe, who signed as an undrafted free agent with the 76ers, hopes to be invited to training camp at Richard Stockton University where his dad, George, starred for the Ospreys.
“I’m just so humbled by the whole situation,” George Briscoe said about his son’s opportunity with the 76ers. “The pro game, I’m just learning it right now.”
Isaiah played on the Sixers Summer League teams in Utah and Las Vegas. The next step is literally stepping on the floor at Stockton in Pomona, outside of Atlantic City.
Certainly, this unique circle-of-life chance is not lost on George Briscoe – how his son could be invited to training camp at Stockton and will be trying to make the 76ers on the floor he took the Ospreys to the Division III Final Four in the 1986-87 season.
“How sweet would that be?” George Briscoe gushed. “That would be amazing and it would be a humbling experience. There are just so many great players.”
George Briscoe averaged 13.2 points and shot 55.1 percent from the field in running the point for Stockton’s first NCAA Final Four team in any sport after winning the school’s first New Jersey Athletic Conference championship in any sport.
The magical season was just Gerry Matthews’ second year as head coach. Stockton finished 23-8, including NCAA tourney victories over Roanoke (67-64), Cal State-Stanislaus (88-80) and Widener (68-65 in overtime) to reach the Final Four.
The Osprey’s lost to eventual national champion Clark (MA) 77-70 in the semifinals and to Wittenberg (OH) 82-80 in the third place game.
“I grew up a Sixers fan watching Mo Cheeks and Andrew Toney,” Briscoe said about his time at Stockton.
Stockton assistant coach Roy Heck said Briscoe was “the only person who could shut down Greg Grant at Trenton State,” about the electric 5-7 guard who played parts of seven seasons in the NBA, including two stints with the 76ers (1991-93 and 1995).
The day after the June draft, Isaiah Briscoe signed as an undrafted free agent with the 76ers, who also inked Maryland’s Melo Trimble and Indiana’s James Blackmon, Jr. for backcourt depth.
“There is a lot of excitement going on,” George Briscoe said about the 76ers. “If Isaiah could find his niche, he could be a Sixer.”
Briscoe, a sturdy 6-foot-3 point guard, played two seasons at star-studded Kentucky. Last year, he averaged 12.1 points, 4.2 assists and 5.4 rebounds for coach John Calipari.
“It’s just exciting with the front office and the culture there, with Coach Brown and the leadership there,” George Briscoe continued about the 76ers. “It’s just what you want to be around.”
George Briscoe officiates high school and AAU basketball games near his home in North Jersey as member of Board 33 for the last 10 years. He also helped out coaching at area high schools.
“I’ve been pretty busy staying in the game,” Briscoe said.
Briscoe, who lives in Union and works in Philadelphia for the United States Department of Education as a compliance audit officer for the last five years, was also busy watching his daughter play.
His daughter, Iasia Hemingway, played at Georgia Tech and Syracuse before playing professionally in Australia and having a tryout with the WNBA.
“She had a little stand with the Liberty and played in a couple preseason games and went overseas,” Briscoe said proudly.
His son was already one of the top players in the country when he transferred to Roselle Catholic High School from St. Benedict’s for his junior year.
As a senior, Briscoe averaged 21 points, five rebounds and three assists per game in leading Roselle Catholic to its second consecutive state title.
He arrived in Lexington at the No. 13 ranked overall player by ESPN and was a first team Parade All-American and played in the McDonald’s All-American Game.
However, Isaiah Briscoe arrived to the Sixers without the hype coming out of high school even though he is the cousin of Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Kyrie Irving, who played at St. Patrick’s in North Jersey.
“For the most part I’m just enjoying the process and respecting the process,” George Briscoe said. “Hopefully, it will work out for Isaiah, I’m hoping it will.”
“Like any proud parent, I would love the opportunity.”
In what he hopes will continue as a circle of life opportunity on the floor he once played.