Isaiah Wong had a strong freshman season as a Miami Hurricane. The versatile guard steadily improved as the year went on and is looking to play a key role for the Hurricanes this season.
Wong averaged 7.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 21.2 minutes per game last season and appeared in all 31 games the Hurricanes played. He was also a two time ACC freshman of the week in February.
Those two weeks in February marked a stretch that saw Wong come into his own as one of the best players on Miami’s roster. Starting January 25 against North Carolina, Wong had a stretch of nine straight games where he scored at least 10 points. In February, he had a 23 point, 21 point, and 27 point performance.
Heading into this season Wong is hoping to take his next step forward into the upper-tier of ACC guards. He’s “a lot bigger and stronger, he’s practicing very well,” Coach Jim Larrañga said heading into the season. Notably, Wong has also been practicing at both point guard and shooting guard heading into this year.
Last season Wong played almost exclusively at shooting guard, rarely moving over to point guard during the entire season. This year, Jim Larrañaga will be relying on Wong at point guard in some situations, especially if Miami goes with a big lineup to combat length on opposing teams, which plagued the Hurricanes all of last season.
However, the biggest shoes Wong may have to fill are those of DJ Vasiljevic. Vasiljevic was a sharpshooter and Miami’s main three-point threat. Without him on the court last year Miami struggled to spread the floor, which compounded issues with bench scoring and an overall lack of depth. Wong was the team’s second best three-point shooter by percentage last season behind Chris Lykes, shooting at a 37% rate, but he took just 51 shots from beyond the arc. Jim Larrañaga said Wong “is significantly improved” from three-point range. If the Hurricanes want to have offensive success this season, Wong will need to shoot consistently and often from deep to open up the floor for the dynamic drives of Chris Lykes and a much improved Rodney Miller.
Another key for Wong will be limiting turnovers, which was an issue last season, especially early on in the year. The sophomore guard turned the ball over 52 times as a freshman, good enough for fourth most on the team, despite only starting 13 games and ranking seventh in average minutes. An assist to turnover ratio of 8-13 will not be good enough this season, especially not if Wong plays significant minutes at point guard as expected.
Isaiah Wong scored double-digit points in 10 of his last 13 games in green and orange last season and will be a major piece of Miami’s refreshed rotation at guard this year. He has a chance to be one of the Hurricanes’ most improved, and most important, players and could become one of the premier guards in the ACC this season.
Wong’s potential is as high as any player on Miami’s roster, and the first signs of the improvements he’s made could be on display on November 29, when the Hurricanes season gets started against North Florida.