Isiah Small starts his basketball journey at SCCC
March 1, 2018
Coming from Jersey City, New Jersey, Isiah Darius Small began his basketball career at Seward County Community College. Small is a freshman forward and is 6-foot-6 inches tall. His fan base usually compares him to the Los Angeles Lakers small forward, Brandon Ingram.
Small gathers most of his inspiration for the game of basketball from his older brother.
“I started playing basketball mainly by watching my older brother. I always wanted to be like him growing up. He has the best shot I’ve ever seen, he has a shot like Trae Young. Watching him on the sidelines, I just knew I wanted to be like him. At first, I started playing football as a quarterback. Then my dad told me that I needed to play two sports. Growing up with my brother and working out and everything my brother did, I was at the side doing the same,” Small said.
Although Small is coming from the east side of the country, he decided on SCCC because of many different factors.
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“I was at a camp and I didn’t have any offers yet to play college basketball. So my high school coach sent me to this basketball camp called “Elizabeth.” SCCC Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach, Carlo Walton stopped me and said he really liked the way I played and it reminded him of himself because he was also from New Jersey. So, he told me he had me on his list and we kept in touch. He watched film on me and he offered me a full ride scholarship. He told me to look up SCCC online and to take a look at the website. What first caught my attention was the baseball field. I thought Seward had really cool athletic facilities and that’s what made me come here,” Small said.
Small played basketball for Coach Shelton at Henry Snyder High School and averaged 21 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 4 blocks, and 2.3 steals per game during his senior year season. He was named 2016 ranked 3 Team All-State, following his junior year season in which he averaged 21 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
Small was also named 2017 conference tournament MVP (most valuable player) and led Coach Snyder to a third place conference finish.
Small has big goals at SCCC
“At first I was really nervous because I’ve never been out of New Jersey. So I came here with my mind set of being calm and cool. I looked up the roster online and I saw that there were freshmen
and sophomores and at the time I didn’t know we were going to have a whole new roster, which made me get even more nervous and thinking that I had to fight for my spot,” Small said.
Small came to SCCC with several goals he wanted to achieve throughout his basketball career. Getting some playing time and winning games were at the top of his list.
“My main goal coming to SCCC was to definitely get some playing time. Once I saw that I was getting enough playing time, my next goal was to at least average a double-double or triple-double. My other goal is to possibly become All-American, but behind all of my goals, winning regionals or a nationals will always be my goal and mindset. Also, winning games throughout the season and if we just win games, then maybe everything else will fall in place,” Small said.
Coach Sautter had his doubts about Isiah’s maturity level, but as time went on Sautter began to use him as a prime example of what it means to be a strong Saints basketball player.
“When we signed Isiah, I really didn’t know much about him. Coach Walton found out about him and he was the assistant coach at the time. He was the one that brought my attention to Isiah. I saw that he had some skill level, but I thought he was very very goofy and immature. Honestly, I really thought he was not going to make it. I thought he would come here and by a week or two, I would send him home. But he has done everything we asked him to do. I was going to use him as an example of who not to be, but now I’m using him as an example of who to be,” Sautter said.
Sautter has taken notice that Small is loved by those around him and knows that he is a crucial member of the team.
“I think he’s a really great student athlete. Everyone loves him from the staff to the students here on campus. Everyone in our team loves him and his teammates love him. He’s funny because that’s just his personality. I really appreciate him being on our team. He’s meant a lot to us by averaging double-doubles by not even trying,” Sautter said.
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With a year of experience under his belt and his sophomore year around the corner, Sautter wants Small to take the summer to develop his skill set and work on his nutrition.
“He’s very active and tough for his size. I really think this summer he needs to concentrate on his nutrition. I just want him to get stronger and improve his skill level. He has a possibility of having a great sophomore year and my expectations for him next year is to be a leader for the guys who are coming back and the new ones,” Sautter said.
Coach Sautter isn’t the only one that believes Small is headed towards great things. Patsy Fischer, SCCC Advisor Coordinator, also believes that Small is going to be successful in life.
“I met Isiah when he came on the first day of signing. When I first met him, I told him we needed to put some weight on him. Isiah is all about loyalty because he’s very proud of where he comes from and I’ve noticed that. He sees the opportunity that he’s been given to come to Kansas and I would always tease him about why he came to Seward from New Jersey. I think Isiah will be very successful in life. I wish him the best and think he’s a great kid from New Jersey. I always remind him that SCCC will always take care of him and give him the best education he needs,” Fischer said.
So far this 2017-2018 basketball season, Small is averaging 14.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. He is also nearly half way to reaching 1,000 points.
Small puts on a show every game. The crowd absolutely loves his style of playing. The crowd gets rowdy whenever Small dunks on other opponents during the game. Up to this point, Small’s career high is 25 points.
Overall, Small has made his mark at SCCC throughout his first year here. In the fall of 2018, Small has decided to return to SCCC to continue his basketball career and to hopefully have another great year and season.
“My plans after graduating from SCCC are still undecided. I probably won’t know where exactly I want to go yet, but hopefully by next year and depending how the season goes, if I get offers then I’ll be able to decide where my basketball career will go,” Small said.
Small wants to continue to represent New Jersey and has high hopes for what’s to come after SCCC.
“All I want to do is make my city and people proud. I want to keep repping New Jersey while I attend SCCC. Hopefully in the future everything comes together and I can continue my basketball career at a university,” Small stated.