Isaiah Brock truly enjoys his time on the basketball court with his Oakland University teammates.
“It kind of reminds me of the military, very similar to the military,” the freshman forward said. “It’s a brotherhood almost, that’s what I enjoy most about basketball.”
Brock knows about life in the military — he left it earlier this year. Brock spent the previous five years in the U.S. Army, tasked with retrieving the bodies of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Kuwait.
While overseas, Brock took part in a coaches clinic, which Oakland University’s head coach Greg Kampe also took part in it. The experience changed both of their lives.
“I’m thinking he’s 21, 22 years old, a kid doing this,” Kampe said as he prepared for the GCI Great Alaska Shootout. “It’s 130 degrees there, it was just unbelievable and I thought, ‘man, this kid could really have a profound impact on my players and my team.'”
However, Brock faced another hurdle. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) originally declared him academically ineligible. It reversed the decision a week later, clearing Brock’s path to the court, and removing a distraction.
“That was kind of in the back of my mind, but I try not to let it hinder my focus,” Brock said. “I’m so relieved, I’m just glad so glad that process is over with, and now just focused on the season.”
No one is more surprised by Brock’s performance than his head coach.
“I never thought he was going to play until a couple of years from now, and he’s so athletic, and he’s so raw, and he wants to learn, and of course he’s older and more mature, and he’s developing,” Kampe said.
“I’m just trying to bring my maturity to the team, and be a leader in a way,” said Brock, who brings it all to the court — instant maturity, instant credibility, and instant respect.