Isaiah Stokes, a transfer student from the University of Florida who joined the Tigers men’s basketball team this year, will have to sit out this upcoming season due to NCAA transfer rules unless he receives a waiver.
During his time in Gainesville, Fla., Stokes played in only 26 games for the Gators. He averaged 2.7 points per game and 1.0 rebounds while shooting 46% from the field. The former 4-star recruit started the season last year as a redshirt freshman due to an ACL injury during his senior season at IMG Academy. Stokes now joins current Tigers Jayden Hardaway and Lester Quinones as former players at IMG.
Stokes struggled with weight gain issues attending UFL, but has since gotten into shape, trimming his weight from 320 pounds to a reported 270 pounds. The 6-foot-8-inch power forward is now the heaviest person on the roster by 20 pounds.
In addition to Stokes, the Tigers now have James Wiseman, Precious Achiuwa, Malcolm Dandridge, Lance Thomas and Isaiah Maurice in the front court rotation. If Stokes is cleared to play, the Tigers could potentially possess the strongest group of guys not just in the conference, but possibly in the nation before the season is over with.
While Stokes’ role for the Tigers has yet to be determined, he looks to be a threat on the boards when the Tigers play against heavy set teams, but he will need to be a player willing to provide a spark and bully in the paint if he wants to gain minutes.
The Tigers have not had a big man presence like Stokes since the Joey Dorsey and Pierre Niles era back in 2008, but if Stokes can bring the energy and put in the effort, his presence can solidify a run to the NCAA Tournament. The Florida transfer is originally from Memphis and played his high school career at Southwind High School before transferring to IMG Academy for his senior season. Stokes has former ties with Head Coach Penny Hardaway playing for Team Penny on the EYBL Circuit.
“He’s a veteran player that’s physical, tough and has a great (basketball) IQ,” Hardaway said during a press release.
Isaiah Stokes’ older brother is Jarnell Stokes, who played for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2014-2015 and spent time recently with the Memphis Hustle in 2019. Isaiah Stokes seeks to follow in his brother footsteps, and his transfer to Memphis is one step closer towards a professional career.