LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It took an eleventh hour conversation to convince Isaiah Briscoe to return to Kentucky and put off the NBA draft.
Now that he is back, the Cats leading returning scorer is ready to take on a bigger role as a sophomore, perhaps as the team’s point guard.
Briscoe’s decision to withdraw from the draft and return to UK came after talking over the decision on the day of the deadline with Cats assistant coach Kenny Payne.
“Mostly what he was talking about was security,” Briscoe remembered.
While the NBA draft has two rounds, only players taken in the first round are insured of receiving a guaranteed contract.
“That’s with me going in the first round, the security. It made a lot of sense and I want to feel secure.”
“Once we had that talk, it was a no-brainer. I wanted to come back to Kentucky and I never had a problem with coming back to Kentucky to begin with,” Briscoe said.
Briscoe said he worked out for six NBA teams.
Speaking during the draft evaluation process, John Calipari said Briscoe had impressed NBA teams. Still he was widely projected to be a second round pick at best.
Briscoe said the decision was difficult because of the way he played in workouts.
“All the feedback was good. They said that my shot was better than they thought,” Briscoe said. “But going back to school and showing them that I can shoot consistently wouldn’t hurt me at all.”
Briscoe hopes to show off more than just an improved jump shot in his sophomore year. Arriving at Kentucky as a five-star point guard recruit, he was rarely called upon to handle the ball or run the offense as a freshman. With Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray choosing to stay in the draft, Briscoe expects to take over as the point guard and on-court leader.
“Running the team, that doesn’t mean score all the points,” he said.
Perhaps proof that John Calipari is expecting the same, Briscoe says the player-coach relationship has strengthened between the two in the off-season. Calipari checks in weekly to talk with Briscoe and they exchange texts every few days, he said.
“He’s trusting me a little bit more than he did last year and I don’t want to let him down. So I’m just out here doing whatever I have to do to make sure the team is fine,” he said.