At the beginning of each new year, Phenom Hoops works to assemble a series of articles centered around unsigned senior prospects. Last season, over one hundred players from North Carolina went on to play at the Division I, II, III or NAIA levels, and that number looks likely to continue increasing with the current senior class. Typically, we take a closer look at guys who are overlooked and underrated, and today’s edition will highlight Isaiah Escobar of The Burlington School.
We’ve covered Escobar countless times over the years, including recently featuring him on our “Five Vital Role Players within North Carolina,” stating, “If there is any player on this list whose per-game averages don’t properly reflect his value, it’s Escobar. The undersized guard simply thrives on doing the little things, whether by providing hustle, knocking down perimeter jumpers, or shutting down opposing guards. Escobar can also set up the offense, make the extra pass, and simply understands how to make the right decision within the team structure. He defends and rebounds well for his size while forcing turnovers at a quality rate. Escobar could certainly warrant attention at the college level.” Following this, Escobar had an incredible showing in the NCISAA 2A semifinal, where we stated, “The Spartans simply don’t win in such a dominant fashion without the major scoring burst from Escobar in the first quarter. Typically known for his motor, defensive prowess, and spot-up presence, he offered an entire games worth of production in the first four minutes. That being said, Escobar continued to operate within his role and make hustle plays when his shot stopped falling. He’s an exceptional role player and someone who could definitely find opportunities to contribute at the next level.”
The production and overall willingness to do anything to provide his team with an edge simply speaks for themselves. Escobar arguably embraces being a team-first guy more than anyone in the state, due to his IQ, motor, defensive prowess, and ability to hit big shots at a quality percentage. He likely could’ve stayed at his previous schools and been a consistent double-digit scorer over the last few years, but chose to redistribute his value where it was needed most. Though it was stated numerous times, Escobar’s role in their semifinal contest was incredibly pivotal and likely gave the Spartans the edge they required. Given his presence on and off the court, Escobar seems like a player who should receive opportunities as the next level.