Updated: Jun 11, 2022
After averaging 20.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.9 steals as a freshman at Heritage Christian HS (CA), 2024 guard Isaiah Elohim transferred to the renowned Sierra Canyon School (CA) last fall. At Sierra Canyon, Elohim played with the likes of Amari Bailey, Bronny James, Mike Price, Shy Odom, and Kijani Wright among others. While falling short in the CIF State Open Division Playoffs to Centennial (CA), he was an instrumental piece to the team and showcased his ball skills as a polished three-level scorer. Last summer, the 6’5” guard led the 15U Nike Peach Jam in scoring at 28.5 points per game. In the 16U EYBL division with PG Elite this year, Elohim has Peach Jam aspirations, teaming up with fellow five-stars Jamari Phillips and Jase Richardson. The rising junior is a consensus top-five player in his class and a talented prospect who should continue to draw the attention of blue blood college programs.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Elohim talked about watching Kobe’s 2008 Olympics performance and how it made him fall in love with the game, leading by example and sharing insight with his teammates, considering G League Ignite and Overtime Elite as viable options, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect Isaiah Elohim, from Northridge, California:
Pro Insight: How did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and family.
Isaiah Elohim: Well, at first my aunt actually played pro in Israel. She's taught me a lot of the game from just the mental side of being a pro and just doing those types of things and having what it takes to be a pro 'cause it's very hard to get there. And originally I'm from upstate New York, so it was a grit-and-grind type of a city and I had to make my way. And ultimately, when I moved to California, that's when everything started to fall in line for me. Everything started to be in motion. I started to really fall in love with basketball and just have a greater passion for it when I moved here.
PI: What were the reasons behind moving from New York to California?
IE: Right, I have way more opportunity here to make a name for myself and to really prove myself. ‘Cause on the West Coast, there are very skilled players, so finding my way to finesse the game and learn how to be skilled.
PI: Any other athletes in the family besides your aunt?
IE: My dad was a big athlete and really put the basketball in my hands. He was the one that really started my love for the game of basketball, just going on many hoops and dunking on my brother and things like that. When I was younger, just watching people like Kobe and LeBron, that's where it really made me fall in love with basketball, so I'll definitely say my dad was an athlete, my brother was an athlete and that's probably it. My aunt, my dad, and my brother were athletes.
PI: How much older is your brother?
IE: Older by five years.
PI: Okay, so you’ve been able to hold your own against him even though he’s got those years on you?
IE: Yeah, but that took a very long time to even get close to him 'cause he was killing me when we was younger.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
IE: I played football when I was in fourth grade. I played football and basketball, but ultimately I chose basketball 'cause I really loved it.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths?
IE: Well, I'm a physical and skilled guard and I think my best strength is also my mid-range and just my ability to create for myself and for others.
PI: We watched you extensively at Border League last year — the way you get into the paint, find your spot and rise into your shot…Would you say that’s one of your go-to moves?
IE: Yeah, most definitely.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
IE: I definitely study a lot of CJ McCollum and I study a lot of DeMar DeRozan and Devin Booker too, just simplifying my game and not having to work as hard to score.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
IE: Just working on extending my range to the three so my three can become consistent and I can fully round out my game and also just fine-tuning the things I'm really good at — the mid-range, the handle and just working on my speed and agility and all that stuff. So there's quite a bit of stuff I'm really still working on.
PI: What are your current measurements?
IE: I'm currently 6’5”, 205 [pounds] right now. I don't really know what my wingspan is, but I do have a really long wingspan.
PI: What position do you view yourself in?
IE: I personally see myself as a scoring guard that can also really playmake 'cause when I get to the league, I will eventually be a two guard 'cause I'm big and I'm lengthy and things like that, so it's where I'm going to be, really a two guard.
PI: Do you have a training regimen?
IE: Well, usually I will stretch for a long time first. I usually stretch everything in my legs, my arms, and stretch my knees just so I can fully invest in the training without having any problems with being warm and all that stuff. Then, I get into my handle routine. Just some heavy balls, two heavy balls. Just dribbling, doing what I do and then again to form shots. I do that stuff before I start just to get my shot quicker and really work on the details with my shot and then that's when I get into the workout and everything.
PI: Do you use any specific recovery equipment?
IE: Yeah, I usually use a Normatec to recover and get the inflammation out of my legs 'cause I do a lot. I train a lot. I play in a lot of events and I do a lot of stuff for Sierra, too, so I do Normatec. I ice, too, as well, just to get the inflammation out of my knees so my legs won't be really as tight. And then I just stretch.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
IE: I have a lot of them, but just goals for this summer is to be the best player I can be, 'cause I'm gonna be in events that's gonna really get me better and it's gonna help me gain great perspectives about the game. So my main goal is obviously to win EYBL and be one of the best players in it, but also, just to learn and really just get better from here.
PI: Who has been the toughest individual matchup you’ve ever faced?
IE: I'll definitely say playing against Amari Bailey just 'cause his change of speed is just so quick that you can't really react to what he's doing. So I'd definitely say Amari Bailey my freshman year was a very tough matchup.
PI: What are you hoping to showcase with PG Elite differently than at Sierra Canyon?
IE: Right, just showing what I can do, 'cause I felt like I didn't show what I can completely do and show my full range of skills and full game and also just stepping into a leader role. You're gonna see me talk to my teammates and just learn how to be a leader.
PI: What type of leader are you?
IE: I would say I lead by example with everything I do — about how hard I work and how much effort I really put into everything that I do. And I really talk to my guys, too, and just give them little tidbits of what they can do and what I can do to get better.
PI: Is there anyone in particular you’re looking forward to playing with on PG Elite?
IE: I mean I'm looking forward to playing with everybody 'cause I think we're all great players and we all have great potential.
PI: It will be a fun team to watch with yourself, Jase, and Jamari.
IE: Yessir, they’re both very great players.
PI: By the way, congrats on your selection to the USA Basketball Junior Men’s National Team April minicamp. Describe your previous experience with USAB.
IE: The last experience was really good because I got to learn the league perspective a little bit and just to see the alumni they have there and just things like that and the hardware they have and stuff they accomplished, it really fuels you to be better and hopefully be on their level.
PI: Are there any particular players that stand out to you when you think of USA Basketball?
IE: I definitely think of…I always watch Kobe's 2008 Olympic Games and just how skilled he was and how athletic, just everything came together for him, so I definitely want to be on the level with those guys and just the atmosphere, there's nothing like it.
PI: What is your recruitment update?
IE: Kentucky and Texas have been hitting my dad a lot. Normal ones like UCLA and USC have really been in the mix with me and my family. And then, other than that, Auburn and it's just a couple of other SEC schools. It's just schools like that that have really been recruiting me.
PI: Do you have a dream school growing up?
IE: My dream school was Syracuse, just from being from around there and wanting to really just be on that campus and get to feel what it feels like to be at Syracuse.
PI: There are a lot more post-grad options available these days with G League Ignite, OTE, and NBL, among others. Have you and your family done much research into those opportunities?
IE: Both, it was a little bit of both sides doing our research and them hitting us up and stuff like that, but ultimately, I like those options. I definitely like those options for myself and it will definitely be in consideration when I eventually make those decisions.
PI: What will ultimately be your deciding factors when making your choice?
IE: Just that they're really family-oriented and I can feel comfortable around them 'cause when I feel comfortable with a school or a program, that's when you get the best out of me, I feel.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
IE: I like to play video games. I like to play games like Spiderman and things like that and I just like to read books. Most definitely.
PI: What is one of the recent books you have read?
IE: I'm at school right now reading 1984 by George Orwell, and that's a really good book — just somehow it foretold the future and things like that.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
IE: My favorite music artist is this artist named Yeat that I've been really rocking with since last year. He's one of my favorite artists.
PI: If you were stuck forever on a deserted island and had all the food, water, and shelter you needed — what three personal items would you bring?
IE: I’ll definitely say TV, my aunt and I'll say my dad, basically.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
IE: #process 'cause everything is a process, I mean. The work you put in is a process. Everything you go through is a process, so I'd definitely say process.
PI: If you woke up tomorrow to see a fortune in your bank account, what would be your first purchase?
IE: I’d definitely get a car for myself, most definitely.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
IE: I'll definitely say like a construction worker just working with my aunt and my dad and also exploring other options, too, like photography and fashion and things like that.
PI: Do you have a favorite brand?
IE: Nah, not really. I just wear what I like and I wear what I think looks good on me.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
IE: I don't know if I'm really quoting this right, but to just “take everything in stride.” Take all the wins, take all the losses, and just really take everything in stride and just become a better person from it and learn from it.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
IE: I definitely look up to my dad and just my family in general, to be honest. People like my dad, my aunt and my brother who have really been there for me. I definitely look up to them and really wanna do big things for them.
PI: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
IE: People that don't work hard. People that are like I'll say lazy and they'll say they love something, but they don't really put the work in to fulfill what they love. That’s a little bit of my biggest pet peeve.
PI: Are you an introvert or extrovert?
IE: Introvert all the way. I do like hanging with people, but also like being a homebody.
PI: Talk about a time or story in your life that you feel has really shaped who you are today.
IE: I feel like every learning experience I've had in life really shaped me, just from where I was at only just four or five years ago and how hard I've worked to where I am now. It was just me reshaping my own story and having the learning experiences that I've had to really just be as good as I can.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
IE: Success means doing really well at your craft in what you do, but success is also really knowing how to take care of your family and really focus on the priorities of what you need to do and how you need to do it in life.
PI: Besides the NBA, where do you see yourself in five years?
IE: I see myself just being happy. Being happy with what I do and really just being fulfilled with what I do and how I do it every single day — my routine, just basketball things outside of basketball. I just really see myself being happy.
PI: Name three words that best describe you.
IE: Dog, hard worker and grinder.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
IE: As a player, I hope to really inspire people to do what I do and to copy my moves and things like that. As a person, I want to be remembered as being humble and being really caring and respecting everybody for who they are and not really trying to shun people or like just forget who I am just 'cause of the things I've accomplished.