Imani Boyette introduces you to Isabelle Harrison

Isabelle Harrison. (photo via Getty Images)
Isabelle Harrison. (photo via Getty Images) /

While San Antonio may be off to a rocky start and lacking in the win column, they have an ample amount of star power. This star power can be found in their steady veteran, Monique Currie, who started off the season blazing hot or in their bevy of rising young talent. They have the number two pick from last year’s draft but also one of the purest young shooters as well. Moriah Jefferson had a stellar rookie season and Kayla McBride has proven herself to be one of the best shooters in the game right now.

But not to be overshadowed is the newest addition to the team, Isabelle Harrison. Izzy Harrison is my pick for a breakout season. So, I think it’s best we get to know her before she blows up.

While it may seem as if the 6’3” center averaging 12 and 5 seemingly appeared out of nowhere, she was acquired from Phoenix and this is her second year in the league. On a stacked Phoenix team, she barely cracked the lineup, and with Britney Griner ahead of her—we understand.

But after a trade, and a great offseason in Poland, San Antonio presented a fresh start under new coach Vickie Johnson, and maybe most important of all – opportunity. She spoke to me by phone about “giving people an opportunity”, adding: “If given the chance, a lot of people will step up to the plate.”

Two years after completely blowing out her knee in her last season as a Tennessee Lady Volunteer, she is proving why many had her as a top five pick before her knee injury and doing just that.

Isabelle Harrison. (photo via Getty Images)
Isabelle Harrison. (photo via Getty Images) /

Izzy is one of twelve children of former NFL star Dennis Harrison. Growing up, Izzy said, “I didn’t see myself playing sports professionally, it was just something my family did.”

And when she says family she means it. Her older brothers, DJ and David, both played basketball overseas with short stints in the NBA and her older sister, DeeDee, played volleyball as a Lady Vol and professionally. She credits a house full of siblings for her competitive nature, recalling seeing “who could sprint to the school bus first or who could finish their food first.” She says her and her siblings “pushed each other to be better and didn’t even know it.”

At Tennessee, Isabelle spent her freshman year playing behind five All-Americans and sees her time in Phoenix as much of the same.  “[I was] learning behind great players while getting better watching and playing against them.”

The biggest difference between her rookie year and her second year? “Focus,” she said. Her success in Poland during the offseason helped her “get her feet wet and get rid of all doubt” that was still lingering from her ACL injury. This ACL injury sidelined her for over a year and made her doubt her love for the game and ability to play at the next level.

Instead of using the time to wallow in self-pity, her optimism allowed her to see it as a much-needed break, a time to spend with family. She kept going because of her niece, her late sister’s daughter. Her older sister died from Lupus in February, and Harrison said she plays and keeps playing because she wants to be the same powerful role model for her niece that her sister was for her.

The communication studies major plays “for the future.” She does it because she knows there is always someone looking up to her, like her niece. She loves seeing how excited kids get when watching professional women athletes and recalls “watching [her] brothers play in college and the NBA”  and seeing herself doing the same one day.

As she explained: “Most kids just need to see that it’s possible to believe in themselves.” The always bubbly Harrison loves anything involving creativity and culture. During her down time, she loves to go to museums or shopping, mentioning that “finding clothes that fit [her] and look good can change [her] whole day”—a sentiment most of us share.

Harrison’s goals this season are to be a great rebounder and defensive player. I don’t know about you but I’m excited to watch her work. You can keep up with Izzy on Instagram and Twitter at @OMG_itsizzyb.