Former Arizona Wildcat Isaiah Fox is thriving in the Lakers Organization
Former Arizona Wildcat Isaiah Fox is thriving in the Lakers organization as his team the D-Fenders keeps winning and winning in an extraordinary fashion.
The Lakers organization is full of former Arizona Wildcats, including Head Coach Luke Walton and his Assistants Jesse Mermuys and Jud Buechler. But there is one more Wildcat that played alongside Luke in the early 2000’s that is employed by the Los Angeles Lakers, and that former Wildcat is Isaiah Fox.
The Los Angeles Lakers have a D-League affiliate team, the D-Fenders. Former Arizona Wildcat Isaiah Fox is an Assistant Coach to Head Coach Coby Karl, George Karl’s son and former LA Laker.
The D-Fenders bring back some savvy veterans including Vander Blue (Marquette), Josh Magette (think T.J. McConnell, Alabama-Huntsville) and Justin Harper (Richmond). These three D-League veterans have played in the NBA either on an NBA team or during Summer League play. They are racking up the stats and lately, they are stacking up close wins of four points or less.
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Fox’s D-Fenders are on a six-game winning streak leading up to two Showcase games, where NBA Scouts come to watch and analyze players to supplement their teams as the trading deadline looms. That said, NBA Scouts have been regulars at the Lakers practice facility, where the D-Fenders play under the many Championship trophies in Mitch Kupchak’s office window.
Fox learned a lot while playing at Arizona, and he took with him Lute Olson’s coaching style, at least while on the bench. Fox feels he has the brushing through his hair frustration move down pat. Isaiah is really enjoying himself as his team is now 19-4 and sits atop the D-League.
When Isaiah played for Lute, he also played with other prominent Wildcats. In 2002, Arizona’s team included Andre Iguodala, Isaiah Fox, Channing Frye, Hassan Adams, Will Bynum, Jason Gardner, Salim Stoudamire and Luke Walton. When Matt Brase and Joseph Blair come into town, they coach the D-Fenders rivals and nemesis, the Rio Grande Vipers (Houston’s D-League Affiliate), Luke joined them for the reunion.
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Luke’s rookie Ivica Zubac has played for Fox and Karl ten times thus far this season. What is unique in the D-League is that players come and go on the roster, some back and forth from their NBA teams. This makes coaching more difficult as Fox will frequently need to scout players just hours before the game.
Scouting an NBA player added to Fox’s opponents roster, in this case, the Cav’s Kay Felder, is just what he needed to do before his game against the Cleveland Cavaliers affiliate team, the Canton Charge.
After the game, I was fortunate to get some precious time with this busy coach. His day was full and included a memorial service for the teams Video Manager who died tragically in a motorcycle accident. The team wears his last name on a commemorative badge on their jersey’s and play in his memory, Adam Cave is his name.
Here are highlights from the D-Fenders overtime win by four points, 122-118. The four points were scored by Vander Blue at the end of the game by making a three, getting fouled in the process, and subsequently icing the game with the made free throw. A usual feat for Blue, we asked what exactly gives Fox concentration in the final seconds of the last four games.
We cannot thank Isaiah enough for his time and letting us get to know him again. We wish him and his D-Fenders a ton of success and a trip back to the finals to get the trophy. You can follow the D-Fenders at @DFenders on Twitter and watch their games live on Facebook. BEAR DOWN ISAIAH!