Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
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Point guard duties expected to help Joe at Arkansas
NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE Fort Smith Northside guard Isaiah Joe (center) smiles Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, at his father, Derrick Joe (left), and mother, Nicole Joe (right), before signing to play basketball for Arkansas during a signing ceremony at the school.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas signee Isaiah Joe added point guard to his duties this season, and he sees that helping him when he gets to Fayetteville.
Joe, 6-4, 170 pounds, led Fort Smith Northside to the Class 7A state title as a junior by scoring 20 points in a 50-49 victory over North Little Rock. He said playing the point and handing the ball this season will help him as a Razorback.
“It’s given me a lot of confidence this year being able to handle the ball,” Joe said. “ I know when I get to the next level next year I’m going to have to handle it extremely well so I don’t have any turnovers. It’s enhanced my game a lot.”
While playing mostly shooting guard, he averaged 18.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.2 steals while shooting 44.8 percent from beyond the three-point line as a junior. Joe scored 32 points all in the first three quarters in the Grizzlies' 69-42 victory over Bentonville in the Class 7A quarterfinals at North Little Rock on Thursday night.
The Tigers did their best to keep the ball out of Joe’s hands while also doubling him up when he did have the ball. He knows that will likely happen in college, too.
“The thing that always helps is attack first,” Joe said. “When you start attacking, it opens things up, and you can move more freely and get more open shots.”
Joe is averaging 23.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists while shooting 55 percent from two-point and 40 percent from beyond three-point range this season. He's also hit 88 percent from the free throw line.
Razorback Coach Mike Anderson and his staff signed six prospects, including Joe in the early signing period in November. ESPN rates the class No. 22 nationally.
“It’s a great class,” said Joe, who played for the 17-under Arkansas Hawks last spring and summer. “I pretty much know all of them. I know what we can do. I know we’re young, but we have to put in a lot of work, and I’m pretty sure we can go far.”
Joe, an ESPN 4-star prospect and the No. 33 point guard in the nation, hopes to add about 15 pounds to his frame before he steps on the floor at Bud Walton arena next season.
“My main focus is gaining weight,” Joe said. “I have to put on a couple of more pounds on me. After the summer workouts, my goal is 185. That would be a nice goal.”
He’s heard good things about Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Adam Petway.
“I heard the coach up there can put some weight on you, and I’m looking forward to it,” Joe said.
Joe has dreamed of being a Razorback, and that reality is just a few months away.
“It’s incredible. I continue to prepare and work on my game, watch film, live it, sleep it and eat it,” Joe said.
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