Big Impact? Conditioning, Cardio Will Determine Stokes' Contribution
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Practice ended one day last week and Mike White remained on the floor for a quick interview, while several players stuck around to get up some shots and free throws. One of those players was redshirt freshman Isaiah Stokes, who just happened to know the subject of the the interview was him.
When one of Stokes’ wayward shots caromed off the rim and rolled toward White, the Florida coach gathered the ball and passed it back to his player.
Isaiah Stokes “You saying nice things about me, Coach?” Stokes asked.
White didn’t hesitate.
“No,” he shot back. “You haven’t done anything, yet.”
White wasn’t being cold. Just being real.
Stokes, the 6-foot-8, wide-bodied post man, is something the Gators have not had in a long, long time: a highly, offensively skilled big — with emphasis on big. He is a power forward/center in the body of an offensive tackle, but with a soft shooting touch (both inside and out), a deft passing eye, and possesses the basketball IQ of a seasoned pro. At his best, Stokes could be a major impact newcomer for this team, providing front-court punch and productivity to an area the Gators were sorely lacking a year ago.