Jaden Isler, the second-leading scorer in Clovis High School history, said early Thursday he has verbally committed to Division-I Charleston Southern University to play college basketball next season. The first day basketball recruits can sign a national letter of intent in the spring is April 16.
The 5-foot-11, 155-pound senior point guard chose the Charleston, S.C.-based Buccaneers over Lubbock Christian University, Adams State College, Howard and Cochise junior colleges.
Charleston Southern is the only Division I school to offer Isler a scholarship.
“He’s always dreamed of playing at the Division-I level and playing in the NCAA tournament,” J.D. Isler said on Thursday afternoon. “You always would like him to be a little closer, but I told him, ‘You’ve worked your whole life. You can’t just pass up opportunities because they’re far away.’”
So the challenge was accepted with the Buccaneers. Under second-year coach Barclay Radebaugh, CSU finished 10-20 this season. But Jaden Isler said the team could win the Big South’s automatic tournament bid with a few bounces.
“That’s what I’ve worked for my whole life,” he said on Thursday afternoon, “and I decided I had an opportunity to do that, so that’s where I decided to go.”
He is Clovis High School's career assists leader with 724. His 1,469 career points leaves him 56 shy of Bubba Jennings — incidentally, the last Clovis player to play Division-I basketball.
Coach Isler said helping his son through the recruiting process wasn’t much different than helping any other athlete he’s coached. With all players, his advice is to find a program that fits.
“Charleston Southern really plays uptempo,” he said. “They press and they shoot a lot of 3s and they play a lot of guards. I think it will utilize his skills.”
Under NCAA rules, Radebaugh cannot talk about prospects until they sign a letters of intent.
Being a coach’s son was something Jaden Isler could never escape, as opposing fans constantly chanted, “Daddy’s boy,” when he handled the ball. As it turns out, that might help him in college.
“My dad’s taught me everything I know about basketball,” Jaden Isler said. “He was a point guard and he played in college. I feel like I can really step in and be a leader on that team in Charleston.”
Jaden Isler thinks the opportunities he got at Clovis High, particularly playing in Class 5A, helped him get needed exposure.
“It’s hard to even get looks in New Mexico,” Isler said, “and when you’re at a smaller school it’s even harder.”
Plans are to attend summer school, starting May 26, so he can get in early workouts with his Buccaneer teammates. His first challenge will be to improve his mid-range jump shot.
“In high school, I’ve been quick enough to get to the basket any time I want,” he said. “In college, there are bigger, more athletic guys. You’re not going to be able to get to the basket all the time.”