Rochester native Isaiah Stewart talks Indiana, Thomas Bryant

  • 07/19/2017 9:25 am in

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – If 6-foot-9 power forward Isaiah Stewart is looking for a blueprint to follow and reach his dreams of someday playing in the NBA, he doesn’t have to look very far.

In fact, he’s been seeing it frequently over the past few weeks during NBA Summer League play. Stewart, a Rochester, New York native, is close friends with former Hoosier and fellow Rochester product Thomas Bryant and says he’s been keeping close tabs on Bryant’s play for the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I always talk to him after summer league games, ask him how it feels, and just congratulate him,” Stewart said with a smile. “I love watching him.”

If Stewart continues his level of play, it won’t be long before Bryant will be able to return the favor. The No. 35 overall prospect in the 2019 class according to 247 Composite, Stewart attracted plenty of attention for his play at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) Finals at the Peach Jam last week.

Only a rising junior and competing largely against players a year older, Stewart helped City Rocks to a 5-1 record thanks to his 11 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Taking a cue from Bryant, Stewart was an efficient 58 percent from the field, going 29-for-50 through the tournament. He also posted double-doubles in consecutive games against Boo Williams (19 points and 13 rebounds) and All-Ohio Red (12 points and 15 rebounds).

“My game is built around toughness and being physical and running the floor and doing everything I can to make the team win,” he said.

With a long way still to go in his recruitment, Stewart already has a long list of top programs vying for his services and mentioned Indiana, Xavier, Marquette, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Duke, Notre Dame, and Syracuse as teams consistently in contact. Jim Boeheim’s son is a City Rocks teammate of Stewart.

“Coach Archie Miller has been texting me,” Stewart said of Indiana’s involvement. “He’ll text me every day or two and check up on me and see how I’m doing and how things are going.”

Georgetown is also involved and Stewart says new head coach Patrick Ewing makes the Hoyas an interesting option.

“Patrick Ewing is making me a priority,” he said. “He definitely knows what he’s doing when it comes to big men and he’s been to a level that other big men want to get to.”

As for Indiana, part of the draw clearly includes Stewart’s relationship with Bryant, whose successful two-year stint in Bloomington led to being selected with the 42nd pick in the NBA Draft.

“He’s saying it’s a great place and everything worked out well for him while he was there,” Stewart said of Bryant. “He gives me advice to keep pushing every day and keep getting better and that I’m next up.”

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  • TomJameson

    Talented big … That’s a great need right now, and probably will still be in 2019. But, I think (fear) that open scholarships will be very few in the 2019 class. Need to be very choosy because that class is really loaded.

  • Hardwood83

    Agree. If IU doesn’t get a post player for 2018, which seems likely at this point, it will be vital for 2019. Having only one Center on the roster makes me nervous.

  • We’reAllForYou82

    Well said. I have a feeling Arch will play it smart from here on out and leave us room for 2 or 3 in 2019

  • N71

    The video on Isaiah is pretty fun to watch, he’s a cross between Emmitt Holt and Charles Oakley, ideal for the Big Ten. Also heard IU is looking at George Conditt for 2018 (6’10”, 200 pounds, 3-star from Chicago). He looks more like Brad Sellers perhaps, thin but skilled.

  • Outoftheloop

    Lots of recruiting left to do by everyone on Stewart.

  • Mark Bando

    Blueprint to follow? We have a new coach and a new system? That’s not exactly a blueprint.

  • Arch Puddington

    ‘My game is built around toughness and being physical and running the floor and doing everything I can to make the team win,”

    Might as well be the slogan for an Archie Miller big. Add in a touch of outside shooting, and there you have it.

  • Arch Puddington

    While a backup for DD would be great, the need for 2019 is guards. Only three are slated to be on the roster at that point, and none of them have yet established themselves as championship level players. I’m not saying they won’t — DG in particular began to emerge at the end of last season, and CJ did not show as well as he is capable — but even if they all have huge years, we will need more than three guards. We’ll still have DD in 2019 plus five top 100 forwards, so while I hope we get a solid post player, what I’m really hoping for at this point is a really dynamic guard or two.

    And if we get a backup or complement to DD AND a couple of dynamic guards, look out.

  • Larry Brown

    It’s about time I saw someone appear on here who is over 6’8″! I would think that getting a big for next year would be a priority

  • millzy32

    Only one small problem. He’s 2019 not 2018:)

  • MOHAWK Hoosier

    we have plenty of wing players. i hope csm has a point guard as a top priority.not another cg , but a pg.

  • IU-Buckets!!

    This man is superhuman, he is an “unstoppable force.” But my one complaint is that he will be easy to guard if he doesn’t develop a three point shot. As big and strong as he is, you can double down on him in the post. But this kid definitely got some extra physical gifts from god, no doubt there.

  • TomJameson

    Arch, I agree that we will need guards, and specifically a point guard. But I also think we need one more big guy for the middle – 6’9″ or bigger would be nice. And somebody who wants to play that position (Moore doesn’t want to play there).

    Both needs can be taken care of, and I’d bet Archie and staff have their plans and contingencies well in hand. I would be hugely surprised if they don’t get 1-2 more recruits on board for 2018-19 season.

    I know that with a bunch of talented forwards the need for a true center seems to be not a priority, but I think it’s an especially needed position in the B1G. If things stayed as they are now and no more recruited for the 2018-19 season, there would only be 10 scholarships taken. And (like you said) only 3 guards. I’d like to see one of those saved, so 2 spots open to recruit whomever. I would truly love to see a true PG (Phinisee, please), but after that another big would be nice if available.

    Of course Juwan, and probably most of the forwards, can always play the 2/3 guard position in the flow of the offense, but that’s a patch of sorts. But then it’s a patch of sorts to play a forward in the center position as well.

    Either way, I’m really anticipating start of the BB season again.

  • Arch Puddington

    Clearly the roster is a bit imbalanced for the moment, but we have the scholarships for it. One big and a couple of guards and we are in business. Not insurmountable by any means.

  • HardRockHoosier

    It is going to be very interesting to see how Arch over comes that possible deficiency. Man ya gotta love the way Archie has ‘gotten out of the gate’.