When Isaiah Wong notched a career-high 27 points in a triple-overtime victory over Virginia Tech last season, he gave Miami Hurricanes basketball fans a glimpse of what’s in store for the future.
He struggled to fit in early as a true freshman, but stepped up to the plate when Miami was plagued with injuries midway through the season. Wong recorded at least 10 points in nine straight games from late January to late February, earning back-to-back ACC Freshman of the Week honors.
And as his mother, LaChelle, would say: it was all part of the plan.
“In the beginning, I feel like Isaiah performed like a typical freshman: being scared to make mistakes, learning how to decipher and interpret all of the new coaching and how it translated into his game,” LaChelle said. “Once he took the emotion out of figuring out where he fits in and just played his game, his confidence showed and he emerged as one of the leaders of the team by the end of the season.”
Wong first arrived at the University of Miami at 156 pounds. Nonetheless, he was tasked with guarding the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, Jordan Nwora, in his collegiate debut.
Wong’s weight didn’t hold him back in year one, but it’s clear that teams around the ACC were going to do whatever it takes to neutralize the crafty scorer in year two.
So he got to work.
Wong has gained 27 pounds since first arriving at The U, and now weighs in at 183 pounds.
“He’s always told me that he’s willing to sacrifice his body for the game he loves and recently he’s expressed how much he loves working out and seeing the results of the time that he’s putting in,” LaChelle said.
Wong and his mother met with trainers after the season and prepared a list of methods for him to achieve his offseason goals. The priority: figuring out what foods he needed to eat and increasing how many times he needed to eat every day.
And if anyone knows what Wong likes and doesn’t like to eat, it would be his mom. In addition to the obvious lean protein meals like chicken breasts and starches, LaChelle capitalized by cooking Isaiah some of his favorite meals.
For breakfast, she starts Wong’s day off with either waffles, bacon or biscuits with honey with his protein shakes. She also likes to throw in grapes, strawberries or bananas to balance it all out with orange juice to prevent cramps during morning workouts.
LaChelle loves to cook up Wong’s favorite meal: barbecue ribs with adobo and bullseye original sauce. If not that, she’ll craft her own pasta with meat sauce that she makes using “Classico Traditional Sweet Basil Pasta Sauce”.
Outside of home-cooked meals, Wong was religiously in the weight room in Philadelphia this summer, working with trainers Will Huff, Bobby Huff and Rich Bruno at the Spectrum Strength Training facility. When he got back to Miami, he worked with UM strength and conditioning coach Phil Baer and with NBA skills trainer Stanley Remy on the basketball court.
Looking at his progress both physically and mentally over the offseason, LaChelle is proud of what Wong has accomplished.
“We have always been a family of goal setters, and seeing him achieve the results he set out to get gives me the confidence to know that he will be even more successful this coming year,” she said. “He’s going to contribute more to the teams needs while continuing to set himself apart from his peers.”
“He’s always done what he said he would, and we’re all seeing it come to realization.”
She, just like the rest of Hurricanes fans, see a high ceiling for the rising sophomore.
“Just to let you know, he’s ready,”