Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography.
By David Cordova
The Philadelphia Catholic League has plenty of talent coming out each and every year. The league is one of the best in the nation and attracts the best talent in the city, the suburbs and even interstate from Delaware and southern New Jersey, which are within driving distance of the City of Brotherly Love. The best of the best do battle for the chance to make it to the title game every year at the Palestra in late February, in which they will play in front of a large crowd of 9,000 roaring fans.
This past year, Isaiah Wong did just that. The 6-foot-2 rising senior guard is one of the smoothest backcourt players in the tri-state area, and has showcased his talents on the AAU scene and has been rewarded for that by being rated as the No. 73 prospect in the class of 2019, by ESPN.
“What motivates me is playing against better competition every time. I get on the court and I just try to make a statement,” said Wong.
A native of Trenton, New Jersey, Wong makes a statement every time he steps on the court. He attributes that to open runs that he plays in. “I play in Piscataway, New Jersey, I play against competition such as weight lifters, people that are big and strong, they’re just great competition.”
Although he’s from the Garden State, he makes the trek to Monsignor Bonner and Prendergrast High School, which is located in Drexel Hill, Pennyslvania, a town that is seven miles away from the city of Philadelphia.
When asked to compare basketball in both New Jersey and Philadelphia, Wong replied, “Jersey basketball is great competition. They play up and up and Philly is just competition every game, everybody wants to see you have a great game every game, but every time you play a different opponent, there’s an elite guard on every team.”
Wong first started playing scholastic basketball at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. As a freshman, he averaged 11.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Then the following year as a sophomore, he stepped up his performance dramatically by averaging 16.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.8 steals per game for the Irish.
He then made the switch across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge to Monsignor Bonner and Prendegrast for his junior season, where he averaged 21.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game for the Friars, who went 25-5 on the season. For his outstanding performance, he finished the season as the MVP of the Philadelphia Catholic League and made it to the USA Today Pennyslvania Boys Basketball Team List.
“My junior season at Bonner was a great season,” says Wong, “I’ve met great people over there, we all play together over there and we made it big.”
Then this spring and summer on the AAU circuit with WE R 1 on the Under Armour Association circuit, he has averaged 19 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, while leading his squad to a 7-1 record.
“Our summer [has been] a good summer, it’s still going, and I feel like I did great the first session,” said Wong about his play on the UAA circuit. “I came back from injury, and second session, I did great and we did great as a team.”
At the present time, Wong is being recruited by plenty of high-major schools. When asked about his recruitment, he replied, “I really don’t know when I’m going to cut a list. But my favorite schools, I like UCLA, Villanova, Miami, UConn, Temple, St. Joe’s.”
Now that he is entering his senior year, Wong has a chance to do big things, such as lead Bonner & Prendergrast to another run at the Philadelphia Catholic League title and PIAA state title and also another UAA championship with WE R 1, who emerged victorious last summer. All of those things have a chance to be accomplished, but he plans on taking it one step at a time.
“The goal for the rest of the summer is to make a name for myself on the [UAA] circuit, just try to be a big player in these AAU sessions.” said Wong.
The future for Isaiah Wong is definitely bright.
Highlights of Isaiah Wong:
Courtesy of Hoop Major Media.
Courtesy of Hoop Diamonds.
Courtesy of Courtside Films.
Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.
Courtesy of Hoop Major Media.
Courtesy of BLF Sports.