U.S. Army vet Brock re­turns to Oakland

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY TONY PAUL The Detroit News tpaul@de­troit­news.com twit­ter.com/tony­paul1984

Isa­iah Brock has had a change of heart.

Brock, an U.S. Army vet­eran who emerged as a stand­out for­ward as an ad­vanced-aged fresh­man last sea­son, has de­cided to con­tinue his bas­ket­ball ca­reer, af­ter hav­ing told Oakland of­fi­cials over the sum­mer that he was walk­ing away from the game.

Brock, who turns 24 on Mon­day, re­turned to prac­tice Thurs­day, Oakland of­fi­cials con­firmed.

Brock ap­proached coach Greg Kampe and ath­letic di­rec­tor Jeff Konya in late July about his de­sire to move on from bas­ket­ball and fo­cus on get­ting on with his life, and he made it of­fi­cial in early Au­gust.

But he’s back, quite a boon for the Golden Griz­zlies, who were 25-9 last sea­son and are heavy fa­vorites to win the Hori­zon League again this sea­son.

Brock, a Bal­ti­more na­tive, spent four years in the U.S. Army, and late in his ten­ure, he met Kampe dur­ing a good­will over­seas visit from sev­eral coaches.

The two struck up a con­ver­sa­tion, and Kampe told him he’d have a schol­ar­ship wait­ing when he re­turned from de­ploy­ment and was dis­charged.

It was a leap of faith from Kampe, who didn’t know if Brock was good enough to play Di­vi­sion I bas­ket­ball but felt like he wanted to do some­thing. It didn’t cost the Golden Griz­zlies a schol­ar­ship, since Brock has the G.I. Bill. So Kampe rolled the dice. And it paid off as Brock av­er­aged 6.1 points and 6.2 re­bounds, and was named to the Hori­zon League’s all-de­fen­sive team and all-fresh­man team. His 72 blocks put him fifth in pro­gram his­tory.

All of that came af­ter a sum­mer in which Brock made na­tional head­lines, when the NCAA orig­i­nally ruled him aca­dem­i­cally in­el­i­gi­ble based off some fiveyear-old high-school grades. Af­ter a huge out­cry lo­cally and na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing from U.S. Rep Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, the NCAA swiftly backed off, and Brock was free to play.

His re­turn means Oakland now has ev­ery­one back from last sea­son’s team ex­cept the one se­nior, Sher­ron Dorsey-Walker, and adds a big-time player in Illi­nois trans­fer Ken­drick Nunn to go with other stand­outs Jalen Hayes, Martez Walker, Nick Daniels and oth­ers.

Brock, 6-foot-11 and 200 pounds, served mul­ti­ple de­ploy­ments, in Afghanistan and Kuwait, and was highly dec­o­rated. Part of his job over­seas was pre­par­ing fallen sol­diers for their fi­nal trip home.

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