Two years ago prior to the Razorbacks football game at War Memorial, Arkansas Hawks President Bill Ingram held a scrimmage in a facility next to War Memorial to highlight the Hawk 5 or Arkansas 5 that had committed to the Hogs. That was my first extended look at this skinny kid Isaiah Joe. They referred to him as Zai.
I was wowed by the stroke he had on his jumper. My mind immediately jumped to Rotnei Clark, who until then I thought was the purest shooter I had seen in a Razorback uni. But I never imagined that Zai would break the Arkansas three point record as a freshman. Remember Scotty Thurman had set the previous record as a junior.
Add to that, he has done it without an ability to take his defender off the dribble as most SGs can do and with focus of the defense primarily on him. That made me think that his teammates have done a good job of giving him some open looks because I cannot remember more than a few in your face threes from him. Jalen Harris and others also need to be given kudos for this outstanding effort.
Isaiah’s handle has improved quite a bit as the season has progressed. If he can continue that progression and develop the ability to get to the hoop like the Barford-Macon-Hannahs trio during the off-season, he will be tough to handle.