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Sharp-shooting Isom returns to Saint John

SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick — Austin, Texas native Mareik Isom has signed to return to the Saint John Riptide.  Isom is the third starter who will return to the Port City from last year’s playoff-qualifying team.

Isom averaged 12.3 ppg and 4 rpg while shooting 40.5% from behind the 3 point line for the Riptide last year, including a season-high 31 points against Niagara.

“Signing Mo is a big deal,” Head coach and general manager Nelson Terroba said.  “His ability to stretch the floor, and play with the utmost intelligence on both sides of the floor make him such a valuable part of our team.  Everyone notices Mo’s shooting ability, which is elite for sure, but many overlook what a smart and poised player he is.”

The 6-10 forward, who has a degree in Psychology from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, also played for the University of Texas Longhorns as a graduate transfer in 2016-17.

“For us, in addition to Mo’s excellence on the floor, he is a cultural driver for our program.  He never misses an assignment, is always prepared, is one of the first ones in the gym and one of the last ones out, and is trusted by all of his peers because of his genuine commitment to the team’s success,” Terroba said. “Mo is a winner— he never complains or makes excuses and always keeps a level head in all situations.”

For Isom, his experience in Saint John was made special by the people who surrounded him on a daily basis.

“It was a great situation last year. I really loved the owners, management, coaches, players and the city– they all really helped to make Saint John feel like home.” Isom said. “I felt coming back gave me a great chance to help the team and improve my game as well.”

This summer, Isom has committed himself to a grueling off-season training regimen with Charles Austin in San Marcos, Texas.  Austin is a former olympic gold medalist high jumper, who specializes in training athletes how to become more explosive laterally and vertically. Isom trains with him three times a week.

“I have been working on strength, athleticism, versatility on offense and defense and becoming a more efficient shooter,” Isom said.

Isom was selected to to take part in a three-week tour to China with World Vision Sports, where he joined a group of mostly G league players.  They trained in Las Vegas for a week prior to traveling to Suzhou, China, for an international tournament with teams from Poland, Nigeria, China, Iran and Australia.  Isom played well, even playing some wing in addition to small forward, showcasing his versatility.

“I learned a lot from everybody last year,” Isom said. “I learned a lot from the coaches and the players I played with and against about what it means to be a professional and how to carry myself on and off the floor and how to make myself a better basketball player. I am really excited about coming back and helping us become a better team and growing as a person and a player.”

Riptide fans and coaches aren’t the only ones who see Isom’s value.

“Every coach I speak with in the NBL talks about how valuable Mo is.  He is great in pick and pop situations, and has worked this off-season on his post game,” Terroba said.  “He is a great passer, uses great technique and is always in the right position defensively and he always makes the right basketball play.  We hope to take advantage of Mo’s versatility coming off different types of actions this year, and we are thankful for his loyalty to the Riptide.”

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