Friday, September 12, 2014

New Knight: Isaiah Eisendorf fr. F 6-5 215

I was talking with a longtime Gannon fan this week, and we both voiced optimism about the upcoming season. Our only concern is how the incoming players will fit. Will they adjust to John Reilly's defense-and-rebounding-or-else approach? Do they have the work ethic necessary to compete on the Division II level? Will they be team players -- do they have the right attitude to fit with Blazek, Porter, Thomas-Edwards and company?

After researching Isaiah Esiendorf, I have zero reservations about him fitting in. I think this excerpt from a Feb. 18 Washington Post article reveals why Reilly recruited him: 

"Late in the first quarter, Eisendorf drew the defense from below the basket and found Aaron Robinson with a perfect feed to set up an easy layup. He jumped, hollered and clapped ferociously, a relative emotional explosion inspired by a perfectly executed team-first moment. … Eisendorf’s rebounds, disciplined defense and unabating hustle — along with a team-high 19 points — sparked Springbrook) to its ninth straight win. 

“He’s our glue,” Springbrook Coach Tom Crowell said. “He brings energy every game, leading rebounder every game, and he’s been scoring a lot lately . . . Isaiah is a beast.”

Eisendorf helped set up many of the Blue Devils’ buckets he didn’t score himself, whether by going a step or two more in pursuit of a loose ball, enticing an offensive rebound away from a Knight, or making an extra pass. As with his first-quarter assist, he reacted most vehemently to those less glamorous plays — hardly shifting his facial expression when he beat the third-quarter buzzer, but nearly clapping his hand off when a teammate finished after he made a tough save-to-outlet pass.

“Honestly, I get most pumped up when we score a tough basket,” Eisendorf said. “That’s all that matters to me. I try to do the things that aren’t getting done — if we need rebounds, I try to get rebounds. If it’s defense, I’ll try to step up on defense. I just try to do whatever we need."

I don't even need to see tape to know if this kid is Reilly's (and my) kind of player. I'd have offered him a scholarship just on attitude alone!

Before I get to Eisendorf's basketball abilities, I have to spend a paragraph on his stepfather, Norman Chad. You might recognize Chad as ESPN's top poker commentator, a guest host on Pardon The Interruption, or for his syndicated sports column that appears in the Washington Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and a dozen other newspapers. To get a sample of his writing talent, check out this column Chad penned about Eisendorf and his high school basketball team. The guy can make words dance. I have to admit I'm concerned Chad will attend a Gannon game this year, write about it, and then all the Gannon Hoops followers will realize what a hack I am. So if you see this man taking notes during a Golden Knight game, I implore you to steal his pen. Thank you.

Here's more information on Eisendorf, some of it courtesy of the Gannon Sports Information Department:
* Let's go to the videotape first. Here's his high school highlight tape from YouTube. You have to love a tape that includes both dunks and deflections.
* Watching him on film, he reminds me a lot of former Knight Alphonso Scandrett (2008-10), a reserve forward on that 30-4 Gannon team that advanced to the Elite 8 in 2009. Scandrett wasn't a giant or a giant scorer, but he was always around the ball, diving on the floor, and making sound decisions. Guys like that help make a bunch of players into a team.
* Here's how the DMVelite prospect report describes Eisendorf's skills: "Eisendorf is strong and athletic with toughness that is contagious. Volume rebounder and is always at the rim rebounding and defending. Has some perimeter skills and can create for other. Must work on overall skill as well as shooting to transition to the wing. Would benefit from spending a year or two at a quality prep or juco, will make him a low D1 prospect."
* Eisendorf also posted a series of individual workout tapes on YouTube.
* Was a standout both on and off the court at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Md.
* An honor roll member, he received the Student-Athlete Award, Versatility Achievement Award, and African American Achievement Award.
* His senior year he averaged 12.5 ppg, earning honors as team MVP, all-county second team, and All-Met honorable mention.
* According to this stat sheet from his senior year, 110 of his 112 field goals were two-pointers, and he made 65.7% of his foul shots.
* Springbrook won regionals and advanced to the state semifinals.
* Posted a season high 25 points and 15 rebounds in a 74-38 drubbing of Churchill.
* Scored 20 or more points in four games.
* Dominated in a win over Wheaton, tallying 19 points and 15 boards.
* According to this Baltimore Sun article, he totalled 11 points and 20 rebounds in Springbrook's Class 4A North Regional semifinal victory over a despondent Dulaney team.
* Scored 14 points in Springbrook's state semifinal loss to Henry A. Wise HS.
* His steal and nearly full court pass made the Washington Post's top plays in this video.
* If I was related to Eisendorf, I'd pay the Gannon Hoops blogger a ton of money to cover small college basketball for ESPN I would buy this sweet Getty Images photo of Isaiah's one-handed floater in the lane and turn it into a poster. But since I'm not a relative, I'll just link to the photo here.
* Played both basketball and football at Springbrook.
* This web page from May 14 lists him as a football recruit for the University of San Diego. Eisendorf is listed as a freshman tight end for the Toreros. And here's a pic of him signing his letter of intent to play football at USD. I'm not sure what happened, but this gives me confidence he'll be able to bang with other bigs in the PSAC.
* According to this article, he appeared in an adidas TV commercial, but I couldn't find it on YouTube despite watching a bunch of clips. So let's just pretend I came across the commercial and that Eisendorf is NBA star Damian Lillard.


  1. Jim, there is a trove of excellent wrting examples for Norman Chad. I suggest googling his name and pick one...any one. It also sounds as if his stepson will be an excellent representative of the university both on and off the court. Can't wait!

    P.S. You? A hack? Never! A shill, perhaps but never a hack. Ha!

  2. On a related note, Karl Fogel considers me both a shill and a hack.

  3. Ha! Just before an Image interview, he says to me, "You're the Gannon guy, right? This should be interesting."

  4. One of my favorite Karl Fogel stories ...

    Karl and a coworker of mine were friends, and my coworker invited me to watch the first round of the NCAAs with them at the Sports Page. CBS cuts into the Louisville game and shows legendary coach Denny Crum on the screen. Karl says, "I coached against him -- and we beat him." The bartender says, "Yeah, I always thought that guy was overrated."


    The Sporting News has announced its Division II top 10, and the Atlantic Region is well represented. West Liberty is #1, Stroudsburg is #4, and IUP is #9. WLU's CJ Hester and ESU's Whis Grant are listed as second team All Americans.

    I'm going to try to pick up a copy so I can see who made the All-American honorable mention. I would imagine Adam Blazek would have to be on that list.

    1. so what's everyone's over/under on WLU, ESU and IUP?

      WLU - finish in top 2 OR finish lower
      ESU - finish top 3 OR finish 5th or lower
      IUP - finish in top 8 OR miss NCAA playoffs

    2. WLU lower
      ESU lower
      IUP miss playoffs
      We got scores to settle.

  6. Overheard: (maybe even within this site...): IUP picked up one of West Liberty's main cogs from last year...

    True??? If I get time , I'll peruse their site.....(6'5 crew-cut inside guy.....very good player.....)

  7. Shawn Dyer transferred to IUP from WLU. 6'0 185 guard. Second on WLU in scoring last year at 14.9 and shot just under 40% from 3PT range. here's link to article:

    WLU isn't hurting though... in addition to their 2nd Team Pre-Season All-American stud CJ Hester, they return a slew of starters and big scorers as well as added 6'3 G jr Joe Lococo who averaged 20ppg as a sophomore at Shippensburg last year, 6'4 G Indiana Faithfull who led D1 Wofford in assists 2 years ago and 6'8 F from Wofford, Zac Grossenbacher.
    Article about WLU:

    1. Thanks for the update, Corey!!

      (I thought it was the inside guy, but, I remember Dyer as a sniper-range fearless shooter.)