McBride set to host Arkansas for home visit Monday

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Monday, September 10, 2018
Sophomore Issac McBride averaged 20 points per game this season and helped lead Baptist Prep to its second consecutive state championship. He scored 20 points in the Class 4A championship game and was named the tournament MVP.
Sophomore Issac McBride averaged 20 points per game this season and helped lead Baptist Prep to its second consecutive state championship. He scored 20 points in the Class 4A championship game and was named the tournament MVP.

— Arkansas’ basketball program may have been a little late to the party for Baptist Prep guard Issac McBride, but its still in the game.

McBride (6-1, 185), whose recruitment blew up in late July, will host the Razorback staff for a home visit on Monday during a nine-day period were twill entertain four schools.

He hosted TCU head coach Jamie Dixon on Sunday, will host Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson on Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self on Tuesday and Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl on Sept. 17.

McBride is also slated to take three official visits this month with treks to TCU (Sept. 14-16), Auburn (Sept. 21-23) and Kansas (Sept. 28-30).

“That is all correct,” McBride confirmed on Sunday.

The Razorback would love to have him visit the weekend of Oct. 5-7 when the football team hosts Alabama, but that has not been set up yet and McBride is also considering a visit to Tennessee.

“We don’t have any set so far, but they are still in it,” said McBride, whose uncle Reggie Coleman was on Tennessee’s 1998 national championship football team.

McBride averaged 24.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals as a junior with a high of 46 points in one game.

He had eight games over 30 points and hit 51 percent from the field, 44.9 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent of his free throws.

McBride capped off the season by scoring 20 of his game-high 26 points to lead Baptist Prep (30-6) over Jonesboro Westside 76-52 last March in the Class 4A state title game at Bank of Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs.

He had offers from UALR and a few other mid-Majors programs before late July when he shined while playing for the Joe Johnson Hawks AAU program.

“That was a great move for me,” McBride said. “It really helped me get seen.”

His AAU play in the Fab 48 Tournament in Las Vegas brought offers from Kansas, SMU, TCU, Oklahoma State and Wichita State from July 28-August 1 with Tennessee jumping in on August 4 and Arkansas offering on August 27.

Anderson noted that scholarship-strapped Razorbacks had been interested all along, but finally felt that were in position to offer McBride.

“They just talked about how they’ve been watching me since the ninth grade and how they wanted to see how I developed and if I checked their boxes with the way I played,” McBride said. “That’s pretty much it. How I developed.”

Obviously Razorback fans wonder if the late offer hurts Arkansas’ chances to land McBride, who teamed with Razorback 2019 guard commit Justice Hill on the Hawks this spring and summer.

“Really to be honest I feel like them coming late was just a decision made by them,” McBride said. “Coming late is better than not coming at all. I’m really praying about which school is best for me. Consulting God and seeing where he’ll want me to go and talking to my parents.

“I feel like coming late it really doesn’t matter. It’s really just ultimately up to me and with the help of my parents to make the decision where I’ll like to continue my next four years and where I would like to develop. I really don’t have any comments on that. I’m just taking it day-by-day.”

McBride noted that he feels very blessed to receive the offer from Arkansas.

“I feel like it was an honor,” McBride said. “Arkansas has always had a great program and they’ve always tried to do things the right way and they’ve had some successful people, so it was really cool.”

Former Baptist Prep and current Little Rock Central coach Brian Ross is thrilled for McBride and his hard work paying off with all the late scholarship offers.

“I don’t have enough good things to say about Issac,” Ross said. “From the day I met him in the eighth grade, he’s just extremely focused, extremely disciplined and always the hardest-working guy on the team, a great leader and a great competitor.

“Honestly he is like the perfect practice player. You would love him if he was the 12th player on your team because he was the hardest worker, but he also just happen to be the best player on our team at the same time.”

Ross was impressed with how McBride and his family handled things.

“He just kind of stayed the course and just kept working,” Ross said. “One thing I like about him and his family is that they didn’t necessarily go on a self-promotion tour. They just kept working hard and just kept playing.

“I would talk to his dad and he always said that if he was good enough, they would find him. Eventually on the last week of the AAU season, they did. Some of the bigger names finally came through. I’m just extremely happy for him.”

Ross theorized on what took so long.

“I think it was probably a combination of things,” Ross said. “He played at a small high school and I know that doesn’t help him. He also kind of had a weird AAU season the summer before his junior year where he switched teams halfway through the summer. I think that probably hurts kids when they do that and he just wasn’t in a great situation and wasn’t seen a lot.

“But then he got into a great situation where he was seen and was able to get up a lot of shots. I think he is a little bit smallish for a high major player. He is just about six-and-a-half feet tall and he doesn’t have this crazy Malik Monk-type athletic ability.

“To me he was always athletic enough and the shot-making should have overcome that anyway, but for whatever reason he just didn’t happen for him.”

Hawks coach Bill Ingram also believed it would happen for McBride.

“I think he is a hard worker who played with a chip on his shoulder even before recruiting got into the picture,” Ingram said. “I think that is just his make up. He practices as hard as he plays. I have never had a kid that runs from drill to drill like he did. You usually have to tell kids to quit walking, but that was not the case with him.

“He is always going full speed every minute on the floor. That is a credit to his dad. He is just a gym rat that wants to get better. Whatever program gets him, he is just going to continue to get better because he is just a guy that works hard.”

Ingram felt good about McBride’s develop this spring and summer.

“He is a winner and a great shot maker,” Ingram said. “What he really improved on this summer was his defense - on the ball and off the ball - and his ball handling and running the team sometime as a point guard. He is really a great combo guard.”

Arkansas’ previous two in-state offers in the 2019 class had been to former Little Rock Parkview star and current Holmes, Miss., Community College forward Javon Franklin (6-6, 210) and Little Rock Christian point guard and Razorback commit Justice Hill (6-0, 175).

McBride is hoping to sign in the Nov. 19-21 early signing period.

“I’m planning to be able to make a decision very early,” McBride said. “Not too early, but early considering the long season. I want to make it before basketball season gets here and be able to sign. If I have the opportunity to sign early I would love to do that.”

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