In-season transfer benefits Edison


| zbraziller@queenscourier.com |

When the decision was made to leave Martin Van Buren after an altercation in front of the school’s grounds, Isiah Stokley did not have to think very long about his next destination. Based on safety transfer rules, it was either Hillcrest or Thomas Edison for the South Jamaica native.
He chose Edison because of his relationship with assistant coach Rob Diaz through the AAU circuit. He plays with Rob Moses, a Diaz disciple, on the Queens Blackhawks.
Being part of the up-and-coming program has helped Stokley, a talented 6-foot-3 guard looking for stability. But not as much as he has helped that very program.
Since joining Edison, the Inventors have won five of six league games, knocking off perennial powers Cardozo and Campus Magnet, and have climbed to within two games of the Bulldogs for first place in Queens AA and one back of the Judges for second. Their only loss, a two-point setback to twice-beaten Forest Hills, included a gritty comeback.
“I just keep everybody motivated and ready to play,” he said.
In that time, Stokley is leading Edison in scoring, averaging 14 points per game in addition to seven rebounds. In a 53-47 upset of previously undefeated Campus Magnet last week, he led the charge with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Stokley nailed a pair of big shots down the stretch, a fade-away jumper from the left corner and a top-of-the-arc 3-pointer to create breathing room late. He had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists in the victory over the Judges.
“He’s a big difference,” Campus Magnet guard Nathaniel Wilson conceded. “I played with him when I was younger. That’s their main player now, their go-to guy. He brings a lot of confidence, a lot of toughness.”
Besides the added scoring punch he provides, Stokley has brought such qualities to Edison. Last year, the Inventors fell apart in the fourth quarter in the PSAL ‘A’ championship game, most notably their starting guards, Allan Thomas and Stephon Hodges.
“I just tell them to keep their cool, keep their heads in the game, don’t let nothing get them down,” he said. “Their confidence is good.”
They also crumbled early this season in tough non-league games against Robeson, Canarsie and Thurgood Marshall. In the loss to Canarsie, at the John Bowne Winter Classic, they trailed by just four at halftime but were blown out in the second half. Coincidentally, Stokley was unable to attend that game. Their next tilt was the upset of Campus Magnet, which was followed by wins over Beach Channel and William Bryant.
“He brings a toughness to the team that rubs off on all of them,” Edison coach John Ulmer said. “They knew him when he played with the Blackhawks. He’s confident, plus he doesn’t get caught up when something goes wrong.”
“The team,” Ulmer later added, “is starting to come together.”