basketball Edit

Q&A with Isaiah Stewart: commitment timeline & finalists' pitches

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WHEELING, WV. – The top big man prospect available this winter, Isaiah Stewart is inching closer to his college decision. While there was a thought that he was going to end things prior to the turn of the calendar, a commitment does look to be in sight.

A 6-foot-9, strong, productive and ever-improving big man that has dominated the high school, travel and international platforms throughout his prep career, Stewart is arguably the most ready-made high school player for the college game. In a sit down with the La Lumiere product, Stewart discussed the final step with his recruitment, when a commitment might come and the five programs that remain in the picture.

Corey Evans (CE): A new year came and no commitment. What is the though process right now for you?

Isaiah Stewart (IS): For me, right now, it is just about finding the right time to figure out a date to commit to a school. I am pretty much down to knowing where I want to go so it is now about talking it over with my people and setting up a date.

CE: You’re down to five schools in Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, Syracuse and Washington, so let’s go one-by-one. Duke, what is the pitch there?

IS: Basically, about completing their class. I was their guy from day one and they want for me to come in and be the leader of the class and have that duo with Vernon (Carey) like they had with Wendell (Carter) and Marvin (Bagley), and try and win a championship.

CE: I know Vernon, Boogie (Ellis) and Wendell (Moore) have been on a text exchange with you. What are they telling you?

IS: Just come on, what are you waiting on? They want for me to complete the class and that I am the missing piece and they all want to play with me.

CE: Next is Kentucky. What is the appeal there?

IS: Their pitch to me was that as I was one of their guys from day one but the thing is that they missed out on two of their other bigs but I could come in and dominate right away and put up numbers, win a championship and get drafted really high.

CE: Michigan State, what is your feelings there, and with having some familiarity of it being closer to you and Jaren Jackson having played at La Lumiere and then there?

IS: I have a real close relationship with them and I have talked to a lot of their guys. Jaren will hit me and we won’t even talk about all of this and Michigan State but we will talk just to talk. His dad coaches here, too, and he doesn’t pitch me on Michigan State, either, but they’re just wondering what I am waiting on and when I will announce. I don’t think we can get any closer.

CE: Back home is Syracuse. What is Coach (Jim) Boeheim saying to you?

IS: I could come in and make an impact like Melo (Carmelo Anthony) did. As you can see, everyone complained about having a big at Syracuse but I could go there and dominate and put up numbers. He thinks that I am a one-and-done type kid and I could lead them to a Final Four or a national championship.

CE: Lastly, Mike Hopkins and Washington. How are things there?

IS: Coach Hop, he was the first coach at Syracuse that really got after me hard. Coming up to see me since the ninth grade and him coming to my high school games, we have gotten real close and he is a guy that I can trust and he has given me his word. He wants to start his own legacy and I feel him on that. I enjoyed my visit out there and I really like what they are doing and I feel like it is a great set-up if I was to go there. He hasn’t had his first big recruit yet so I could be that for them and I know the city would be crazy about that.

CE: In the end, what is going to be the determining factor that will lure Isaiah Stewart to their school?

IS: I would say honesty. Being honest about everything and not just hyping things. It is about relationships and it is great to have relationships with the assistant coaches but it is great to have one with the head coach, too, because, at the end of the day, he is the one calling the shots so relationships and having great teammates that want to see you succeed.