By Jack Roche, GSB ‘22
Whether it be fighting through multiple knee injuries, transferring not once, but twice, or debating the move towards coaching, playing or broadcasting, Isis Young’s story reminds us that life doesn’t always go according to plan. It’s what you make of it. In just her second day of practice at Fordham as a grad-transfer, she tore her ACL in her right knee for the second time. So naturally, she got into broadcasting.
Fordham truly was, as the 5’7 combo guard who played in 58 games at Syracuse University over two years after a year in the backcourt at the University of Florida put it, “the best place to get hurt.” “Ice” earned both her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Rhetorical Studies and Master’s Degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism at Syracuse and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. The Berlin, N.J., native now works for WFUV as a color commentator for men’s and women’s games, in addition to ESPN+ and many other networks. She even participated in an all-female broadcast on the ACC Network Extra this season. While not on the court, Young is an integral part of the Fordham Hoops Community.
Rebounders Club: I know Fordham is close to home, and you have a prior relationship as AAU teammates with Bre Cavanaugh, but how did you end up here?
Isis Young: I would say talking to Bre and her family was a big reason for that. We were close during AAU, and her parents were cool with mine. They were always very honest about what schools they were looking at and why they were looking. When talking to Bre about Fordham, she was just honest and sincere, and it seemed like a place that I would like. And I do like it. For Coach Gaitley, she understood it was my sixth year and she knew I wanted it to be a big year for me, so she was on board with that. Moving forward, it seemed like a pretty easy decision, honestly.
RC: Did you keep in touch with Bre throughout the years?
IY: Oh, yeah! We would talk on social media. One time she found a random old AAU picture and tagged me in it. We always talked. When I saw her at the NCAA tournament, it was good to see her and her family. We never became strangers. I’m a once a teammate always a teammate kinda person, and she’s become a teammate for life.
IY: She’s big energy, which is what I’m used to. I have had plenty of female coaches before, so I like that you’re always able to relate to them. She’s been through her own struggles in life, and she’s big on faith and family. Some of her core values really matched up with my own. As you get older, those are things I start to realize: you want to play for someone with those same values. I think that makes for a better relationship overall. One of the things she said to me is that once you play for me, you’re always a player for me. I’m always gonna be there, willing to help.
RC: I know you’ve played for both Syracuse and Florida. Can you detail the journey a little bit?
IY: I started my career at the University of Florida. I was coming out of high school like, everything was Gator. I had custom Gator Chuck Taylors.
RC: Do you still have them?
IY: I do still have them! I wear them sparingly when I’m home. I played for Amanda Butler, who now coaches at Clemson. I redshirted my freshman year because I came in with a knee injury. My second year I played, but I played freshman minutes, which was tough for me. No freshman is used to not playing when you come from that level. I started to feel like the system wasn’t for me, once I got there and realized what it was about. It didn’t fit me. My family and I made the decision to transfer to Syracuse, which was probably the best decision of my life. I loved every minute of Syracuse, for three years. I thought about being a coach when I was there, because I was learning so much. As a point guard, I have to regurgitate information to my teammates, which is what a coach does. Then I got into broadcasting, and that took off.
For my sixth year, I just wanted to play more, honestly. I was only playing 15-20 minutes a night. I wanted to be closer to home so my family members could see my games. That’s when I found Fordham, and now I’m here.
RC: There’s a lot to consider at this point. I know you literally just came from rehab [before the interview], going through PT, and you’ve had so much success off the court. Are you at a point where you’re thinking about a return, or is it strike while the iron’s hot, or do you have no idea?
IY: I have no idea. I get this question all the time. Probably 4-5 times a week.
IY: It’s great, though, because it shows people really care about what I want to do in the future. People want to know, hey, am I going to see you on TV or on the court? It’s amazing to me when people ask because I know they do so because they care. I tell people I’m just focusing on rehab. I go to physical therapy three, four times a week, and I’m getting stronger. I’m focusing on coming back physically better than when I had the injury. It’s a nine-to-twelve-month process. I’m just taking that day by day, week by week. With broadcasting, I’ve gotten so many games in, so many reps, which has been awesome because it allows me to connect and network with so many people. My parents tell me, “work is always there. You won’t always be able to play.” I understand that, and it’s tough. I think I’m leaning towards trying to play, but if it was a percentage, it’d probably be 51 to 49.
Regardless of her choice, Ice will continue to have success with basketball, on or off the court.