#BallisLife For @OTrillmaine
Within the Seattle skyline and the beautiful waterfront of the Puget Sound, a movement has been well underway creating a dynamic era for the region. Already known for its iconic corporations like Microsoft, Boeing, and Starbucks; Seattle is rarely recognized as a basketball hot bed for future college and NBA prospects.
One of the latest “Emerald City” talents will forever be in the shadow of 1973 Lakeside graduate and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, but Lakeside Lion student Tramaine Isabell still plans on graduating in 2014 and en route to his stardom.
Unlike many other talented #hoopers who have emerged from the #206, Isabell isn’t attending one of the traditional basketball powerhouse schools located in the area.
“I wanted to stay (at Lakeside) because of the academics. It is one of the best high schools the country has to offer, so when I was given the opportunity to be a Lion I had to take advantage of it,” Isabell said.
“I also wanted to help change the program around and be a part of something special. I could tell (Coach) Tavio (Hobson) was serious about taking the next step with the program.”
Although Lakeside doesn’t usually find highly touted basketball talent in its student body like Garfield or Rainier Beach, they welcome Isabell, who has received recognition for basketball since he started lacing up his #J’s at an early age.
Isabell started playing organized basketball at the age of four at Miller Community Center in the Hilltop neighborhood. Shortly thereafter Isabell switched gyms and got on with Seattle’s Boys & Girls Club’s “Rotary Style Select,” one of the most premier AAU basketball programs in the entire country.
Growing up Isabell was always one of the best players in his age group, always making the “A” squad of Seattle Rotary Select, and always being a strong team leader.
However in seventh grade Isabell went through an experience that had him questioning his basketball future.
“I started to feel bad about myself and kind of lost the fire to get better since everything was going wrong and everyone that was in my corner telling me how good I was, or could be, had left and I kind of thought about giving up on basketball.”
Isabell had only suffered a common basketball injury, a broken ankle, but a series of events afterward created more of an unfortunate situation. Along with the broken ankle, Isabell had destroyed his growth plates, lost his explosiveness, and got demoted to the “B” squad of Seattle Rotary.
“I basically went from being at the top of my game to the bottom of the barrel,” Isabell said.
It took Isabell a whole year to come back from the broken ankle and damaged growth plates, and to find out he made the “B” squad was like dumping salt on an open wound.
Instead, he decided to take that entire year off and spend it training and getting fully healthier. But then right as his game began to become lethal, more bad news sprang, he found out his ankle had healed incorrectly and that he would need reconstructive surgery.
Isabell decided to go the route of using a cadaver to fix his ankle, inserting screws and plates to help secure it together. Rather than focusing on getting better at the forward position he had played prior to the injury, his focus turned to improving skills that would help him excel at the point guard position.
“In some ways getting hurt was a blessing, before the injury I was simply just an attacking three or four (forward) and couldn’t dribble or shoot very well and relied on speed and quickness,” Isabell said.
“Getting hurt allowed me to focus on things like shooting, dribbling, and learning tricks to make up for my loss of explosiveness. Now I feel confident that I have most of the pieces I need to become a good point guard, because of the injury.”
Isabell was always one of the tallest players growing up, but he has molded into the prototypical point guard frame. At 6’1, 170 lbs., he is averaging 18 points per game in his junior season along with five assists and five rebounds.
Isabell likes to use his crossover to get by people and has excellent court vision and instincts, just like Jennings. Other people like to compare Isabell’s style of play to Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) or Seattle native Aaron Brooks (@Thirty2zero).
Along with Brooks, his mother, grandfather, and mentor Rich Padden, Isabell looks up to a lot of the guys that have come out of the city to play professionally. This past summer Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy were a prime example of the #BFAM type of environment that the Seattle basketball community has fostered.
“Jamal and B-Roy kind of took me under their wing and let me work out with them, they taught me some valuable things,” Isabell said.
The fact that Isabell was able to associate himself with such accomplished local talent has been more than a honor and privilege for him. The fact that those NBA players even take the time to check up on him and help other local talent shows character, something that Isabell has built a lot of.
“I don’t know if they know but little things like hitting me up on twitter or checking up on a kid like me is a big deal. I can’t even imagine how many people they’ve met or talked to or how busy their lives are, but the fact that they take their time to talk to or teach and inspire a kid like me speaks volume as to what kind of people they are,” Isabell said. “ It humbles me and shows me that no matter how much attention
you could be receiving, it’s never too much to not be humble or forget where you came from!”
All of the hard work Isabelle has put in is starting to garner attention. This past summer he was rated as the fourth best player at the Phenom 150 camp in San Diego. He has also led Lakeside to a respectable 17-3 regular season record and as high as fourth in the Washington State 3-A rankings, which is no small feat.
“We all have the same goal, which is to win a state championship. We have been well prepared by giving 100-percent effort in every game and practice and are tired of people over looking us, or asking us who we are,” Isabell said. “We understand that when people see the name (Lakeside) across our chest that it doesn’t frighten them at all, so every night we go out we try to earn that respect that we deserve!”
Winning a state championship is only one of the many goals Isabell hopes to cross off his list. This summer he plans to tryout for the USA team (18 under) and attend some of the bigger Nike camps. Although Isabell may have a Rivals.com rankings, he hopes he can work his way onto the list. Isabelle has already drawn attention from many West Coast universities (UW, WSU, OSU, USC, Gonzaga, Arizona), but plans on working harder and getting stronger so his recruitment heats up. He is humble young man, and seems poised for the exciting experience upcoming.
If you aren’t able to find Isabell in the gym, it might be because he has decided to take his talents to the “sticks”. Isabelle claims he is a “master” at NBA 2K and Call of Duty and gladly welcomes any challenges from anyone (Gamer Tag- OTrillMaine).
From the confidence to the retro or exclusive Jordans’ Isabell laces up on game day, neither will alter his demeanor to become another positive role model the “Rain City” will produce. His pregame knock on the hardwood may become the next “LeBron chalk toss” or he might end up on the cover of Sports Illustrated like his proclaimed future wife Kate Upton.
Whatever route he takes, we know @OtrillMaine is #BallisLife.