CHICAGO — So much of where elite basketball recruits decide to play their college careers these days has to do with who's already there.
Who's coming in, who's leaving for the NBA, and what it means for immediate playing time have become major factors in the biggest recruitments.
So little of that mattered to Isaiah Briscoe.
Briscoe — the only University of Kentucky signee at this week's McDonald's All-American Game — is considered the No. 1 point guard in the class of 2015. Unlike most of the top-10 recruits in this class, he decided to go ahead and sign back in November, despite the always-changing nature of UK's roster.
The reason is simple.
"It's not about who's going, who's staying," Briscoe told the Herald-Leader. "It's about me. It's about Isaiah Briscoe. I feel as though my competitive edge will get me over the hump. If I have to go there and compete, that's what I love to do. So that's to my advantage. I don't want anything given to me. I want to take everything."
UK's next point guard is as confident as they come, both on the court and off.
Briscoe the player has gone from a chubby shooter to the nation's best point guard. His New Jersey high school career started at St. Benedict's, where he teamed up with highly touted point guard Tyler Ennis.
Ennis played one season at Syracuse before being selected in last year's NBA Draft.
"He showed me so much with the game," Briscoe said. "But it was more than just playing basketball. To be a point guard, you have to have a great IQ. You have to be a great leader on and off the court. Just always lead by example."
Briscoe also knew that if he wanted to accomplish his basketball goals, he had to work hard away from the court.
He transferred to Roselle Catholic before his junior season, and his game evolved.
Briscoe honed his skills as a playmaker and a leader. He also transformed his body though a routine that included 6 a.m. workouts before school, yoga and cycling sessions in New York City, and rounds in the boxing ring back home in Jersey.
"I just went to the extreme with everything," Briscoe said. "I've just been working non-stop."
Briscoe is now ranked as the No. 13 overall prospect in the class by 247Sports, and he's done nothing so far this week to jeopardize his spot near the top of that list.
247Sports national recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer described him as a "locomotive" in Monday morning's practice session.
"He played really well," Meyer said. "He looks good, physically. I thought he looked explosive. He's strong, he's got quickness, he's got savvy, he's crafty. He's great through contact."
He's entertaining off the court too.
Briscoe has spent his down time this week clowning around with peers like Malik Newman and Jaylen Brown. The UK signee is often the center of attention.
"He's the funniest guy at this event, definitely," Brown said. "He definitely has a different personality. He's a great kid."
Brown smiled at the thought of Briscoe's "funny voice," which comes in a smooth, slightly high-pitched delivery shaped by a Jersey accent.
"Every time something comes out of his mouth, I just start laughing," he said.
Opponents hear that voice plenty.
Briscoe was voted the "biggest trash talker" in the country in a USA Today poll of the nation's top recruits following last summer's AAU circuit, which ended with him leading his Nike-affiliated club to the Peach Jam title.
"I talk trash," he acknowledged Tuesday. "I back it up. We won Peach Jam, so there's not much you can say. That's just the way I was brought up: Never second guess yourself. I never short-change myself. If I can see it, if I can believe it, then I can do it."
Brown — considered by some to be the nation's No. 1 player — has been on the other end of Briscoe's barbs several times. He said he laughs it off, but to others it can be overwhelming.
"He doesn't let anybody breathe," Brown said. "Even if he's not playing well, he's going to talk trash. That's just who he is, where he's from. That's his culture.
"And don't let him have a good day. ... If he's having a good day, and he's got things rolling and he's trash-talking, then you're not having a good day. He's not going to stop."
Briscoe said there's nothing malicious to his approach. "I'm just excited about the game of basketball."
He's also excited to see who joins him in Lexington.
Tyler Ulis will almost certainly be back. Briscoe said the freshman is "like a big brother," crediting Ulis for making him feel welcome at UK despite playing the same position.
Another indication of Briscoe's competitive edge: He's actively recruiting Newman — the nation's top-ranked guard — to come with him, even though Newman has said he'd like to run the point in college.
Ulis, Briscoe and Newman would make for a pretty great list of playmakers.
No matter who he plays alongside next season, Briscoe has another list in mind: the one Coach John Calipari uses on the recruiting trail.
"I want to be the next one," Briscoe said. "So now, next year, when he goes to recruit the next great guard, he says, 'John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Derrick Rose, Isaiah Briscoe.'
"Whenever they say Coach Cal has great point guards, I just want them to always think about Isaiah Briscoe."