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Posted On: 06/22/18 12:00 PM
Every combo guard needs to be shifty, athletic, alert on both ends of the court, and careful with the basketball.
Isaiah Francis is one of those guards, who you will not see walk into the gyms every day. Now, the question is when will Francis find a home where he can play college basketball? The former Bristol Prep Academy guard has a lot of offers, but no big Division 1 offers at the moment, which is shocking to not only Francis, but to other coaches in college basketball he has talked to during his recruitment.
“Every JUCO and Division II coach I talk to always say they don’t know how I’m not signed D1 yet, because I have all of the talent and tools to play D1,” Francis said. “I’ve outplayed big time guards who are going D1. I’m just overlooked.
“But, it’s all going to work out in God’s plan and timing. Good things comes to those who wait.”
Francis, who’s 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, has the ball handles to push the ball up the floor in an up-tempo offense. He has the upper body strength to attack the basket. He has improved on his free throw shooting, and can shoot from the outside when the lane is closed. He’s also a versatile guard that can play both guard positions, which would make him valuable to a lot of college basketball programs.
Francis compares his game to current Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who’s known for constantly attacking the rim, while running 100 miles per hour on each possession.
If Francis was asked by a coach to play the entire game as the primary team’s point guard, he would be comfortable with it, taking another attribute from Westbrook.
“If I play point guard, that just means I have to run the team, get my teammates involved, push the ball in transition,” Francis said. “When I’m playing shooting guard, I just have to score more, run the wing, and get out in transition more.
“If they kick it out to me, I can easily get to the bucket off the dribble, off the pass, so I like playing both positions.”
For the Pacers last season, the Beckley, West Virginia native, averaged 21 points, five assists, and four rebounds per game, and Francis continues to play with a chip on the shoulder, knowing there are other guards out there trying to make a name for themselves. Starring for 16-time state basketball champion Woodrow Wilson High School back at his hometown helped Francis become the guard he is today.
“Everybody is coming out to beat you every night, Francis said. “Don’t settle for anything, just keep working hard, because there’s always someone behind you who’s working and trying to get where you’re at.”
At the DII level, Francis has offers from Glenville State, Alderson Broaddus, Bluefield State, Bluefield College, Winston Salem State, Concord University, and the University of Tampa. Francis’ D1 offers are Akron, Marshall, Alabama A&M, and Citadel. At the junior college level, schools such as Potomac State, Walters State, Olney Central, and Florida Southwestern State have reached out to Francis.
Francis plans to make a decision on where he will attend school within the next couple of weeks.