Isaiah Brinkley felt his father’s presence in the Allyn Hall gymnasium on what was, to this point, the best performance of his life. “I felt like he was with me watching the game,” Brinkley said. His father, Terry Brinkley, passed away in June at the age of 52. “Everything he taught me stuck with me. He’s why I’m the player I am.” Saturday night Brinkley scored a school record 52 points in OCC’s 101-98 triple overtime victory over Fulton-Montgomery Community College. The win improved the Lazers record to 2-0 in regional play and 3-0 overall.
The Lazers started the game slowly. “We were behind 12-1 in the beginning. Our coach called time out, told us it was time to focus and we worked to get back on track. From that moment I was aggressive on every play.” The sophomore point guard scored 21 points in the first half, 18 points in the 2nd half including two free throws to send the game into overtime, and 13 points in overtime including the final two points of the game. “When the game was over I was beat up physically. My teammates and coach kept me pushing.”
Brinkley played high school basketball at University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men in Rochester. He’s a Liberal Arts & Sciences: General Studies major with dreams of playing professionally overseas eventually. “It’s been my dream since I was a kid but I want to finish college first so I have a backup plan in case I get hurt.”
Wherever Brinkley goes he will carry memories of his father with him. “Every game I feel like I make him happy. I want to do the best I can and give 100% all the time.” Brinkley said he has also received inspiration from his mother, Deadraia Tisdale who was always there for him and kept him on track; Reginald Smith and Dwayne Mahoney who gave him a place to play basketball in Rochester at the Boys & Girls Club and helped him grow up as a man on and off the court; and Lazers head coach Erik Saroney and his staff who have given him the chance to play at OCC and live out his dream.
Brinkley and his teammates will look to improve their record to 4-0 Wednesday night when they host Niagara Community College at 7:30.