6’10” High School Phenom Jonathan Isaac may forego the opportunity to enter the NBA draft straight out of Prep School and instead pursue the move in 2017. Isaac’s St.Kitts born and raised Mom Jackie Allen indicated that she is leaning towards young Jon playing at least one season at FSU before making the move to the NBA Draft . Sports Illustrated reported that In a decision that could signal a new avenue to the NBA for elite American basketball players, the Top 10 high school prospect Isaac told them on Friday that he will explore declaring for the 2016 NBA draft directly from prep school.
SI reported that Isaac said in a phone interview that he expects to take advantage of a new rule that allows prospects to enter the NBA draft and return to college if they don’t feel good about their projected draft position. The new rule allows Isaac to participate in the NBA draft combine, hold an NBA workout and pull out of the draft without compromising his amateur standing at Florida State, where he’s signed to play next season.
Isaac, 18, and officials expect that he’ll be eligible for the 2016 NBA draft because he started high school in 2011, which would make him one year removed from his initial graduating class. Isaac did not graduate from high school in 2015, but IMG officials expect he’d be eligible because former IMG player Satnam Singh had a similar circumstance and was eligible for the 2015 Draft. (Despite Singh being from India, he was classified as an American because he attended high school there.)
There’s vagaries in the NBA rule, which states that a player is eligible for the draft if “the player is or will be at least nineteen (19) years of age during the calendar year in which the draft is held, and (B) with respect to a player who is not an international player . . . at least (1) NBA season has elapsed since the player’s graduation from high school (or, if the player did not graduate from high school, since the graduation of the class with which the player would have graduated had he graduated from high school.”
A source with knowledge of the NBA’s thinking on Isaac said that there’s been no communication between Isaac and the NBA. As of now, the NBA considers his graduating class to be 2016, which would make him not eligible for the current draft. However, the situation could be open to interpretation or legal challenge.
Isaac’s Mom Jackie Allen has however indicated that she prefers Isaac plays one year at least with FSU then enter the draft in 2017.
Isaac, who turns 19 in October, is ranked the No. 9 overall player by scout.com and is considered the centerpiece of Florida State’s No. 11 overall class.
Isaac’s grandmother is Agatha Stevens of Christ Church . His Uncle Bicknel Stephens is a member of the RSCNPF. His mother Jackie Allen was raised in Cayon.
If Isaac does pursue the 2016 Draft he would be the first top American high school player to enter the NBA Draft since the so-called “one-and-done” rule was instituted in the 2005 NBA collective bargaining agreement.
Others like Brandon Jennings (Italy), Jeremy Tyler (Israel) and Emmanuel Mudiay (China) have gone overseas to play the year after high school to become draft eligible. If Isaac does take the decision to enter the draft it potentially opens the door for a new path to the NBA that doesn’t involve college or playing overseas, as both those options involve prospects facing stiffer competition and exposing weaknesses in their games.
Isaac said the early feedback he’s gotten is that he could get drafted anywhere from No. 14 to No. 24. It’s far too early to get a real feel on Isaac’s stock, especially because he’s missed more than 10 games of this prep school season with a stress fracture in his right foot. But a likely scenario for Isaac would be a team drafting him, stashing him in the D-League for a year and developing him there.
Isaac’s mother, Jackie Allen, said the family does not plan on signing with an agent until he’s 100% certain he’ll declare for the draft. “When it comes down to the decision, it’s going to be me and him and no one else,” she said.
Isaac hails from Naples, Fla., and played his first two seasons of high school basketball at Barron Collier High School. He played his next two years at International School of Broward in Hollywood, Fla., where he led the state in scoring by averaging 29.5 points per game as a senior. Isaac went to IMG for a fifth year of high school and signed with Florida State in November. He chose the Seminoles over Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Louisville and LSU.
Isaac possesses a fluid shot, elite athleticism and enough length to be able to eventually guard small forwards in the NBA. With the 2017 draft considered stronger than the 2016 draft, it could behoove Isaac to develop while playing professionally instead of collegiately. The new rule, passed in January, by the NBA, NCAA and National Association of Basketball Coaches allows him to test the waters, which means the decision will ultimately be up to him.