Can This Kalamazoo Native Be The Key To A Detroit Pistons Championship Run?
The past few weeks have been the realization of a dream come true for one Kalamazoo native who's worked his way to the NBA. Growing up in Kalamazoo, most of the city knew since he was in early elementary that he was going to be a special athlete, we just didn't know what sport and how far he would get. Once he committed to the University of Michigan during his senior year of high school, Kalamazoo knew we had another professional athlete.
Isaiah Livers spent his childhood and teenage years running the streets of Kalamazoo and playing sports year round. Livers was a standout athlete in many sports, from crushing little league baseball diamonds, to rocket football gridirons, and of course AAU basketball courts all over the country. He played these 3 sports during his free time, for travel teams, and for his school teams, he's the definition of an all around athlete. Once getting to high school, he continued to play basketball and baseball, before turning his attention solely to basketball after getting serious recruitment from Division 1 powerhouses like University of Michigan and Michigan State University.
Livers would go on to have an amazing 4 year basketball career at Kalamazoo Central High School, leading the Giants to multiple district championships, even a Regional championship, and capping his career by winning Michigan's Mr. Basketball award in 2017. He got countless visits from coaches, the most coming from Tom Izzo and John Beilein as they were in a battle to keep Livers' talent in state. Eventually Beilein and the Wolverines would win Livers' heart and he made his way to Ann Arbor. He spent 4 years here as well, enjoying more success, but also battling injuries.
The Key From Kalamazoo
Michigan made at least the sweet 16 in each of Livers 4 years and even made it all the way to the championship game during his sophomore year. The Wolverines did come up short to Donte Divincenzo and the Villanova Wildcats. Looking back at his last season, Livers continued to struggle with injuries and eventually would get surgery on his right foot that would end his senior season and career as a Michigan Wolverine. Many believed that if Livers was healthy, an Elite Eight Wolverines team could've won the NCAA tournament. They aren't the only ones to believe Livers will play a key role on their team.
Promise Land Pistons
The Detroit Pistons have only made the playoffs only three times since the last member of their early 2000s dynasty left town. With their recent struggles the team has acquired a number of top prospects and draft picks and have loaded the squad with young talent with lots of potential. One of those draft picks was second round, number 42 overall pick, Isiah Livers. He started off working with team doctors and trainers to rehab his foot injury, then played some games with the Grand Rapids Drive, before finally making his NBA debut.
Livers has been turning heads all around the league since putting on the blue, red, and white for the team that calls Little Caesars Arena and Detroit home. Now the most important head to turn has his eyes on Livers and will be looking for him to continue to contribute. Head Coach of the Pistons, Dwane Casey, has fallen in love with what he's seen from the young livers. Casey said
"Livers is big kid, that's in all the right places at the right time showing his length, has great basketball IQ, and pays attention to detail defensively. With Livers moving so deliberately and offering a solid threat from the outside he's a shooter. I think he's going to be a player and you can't get enough guys like him to stretch the floor.
Livers has worked his way into the teams rotation as they find the right combination of young and veteran talent that will lead them back to the playoffs and possibly to the NBA Finals again. If they were to make it to the finals again expect Coach Casey to turn to Livers for help in key moments as he continues to prove himself now. The Pistons are making a surge and Livers is at the center of it, with all of Kalamazoo behind him in support.
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