Sometimes it takes a setback to put things into perspective.
Mansfield Timberview’s Isaac Likekele has emerged as one of the best basketball players in the state, helping to lead the Wolves to a state championship in the 2016-2017 season.
But things have not always been easy for the Fresno State commitment. An injury over the summer nearly proved devastating.
“The biggest thing I’ve had to overcome in life recently was my ankle injury back in July,” Likekele said. “Due to the timing of it, I missed out on a lot of school opportunities.”
Likekele said it was difficult for him to overcome the injury and get ready for the start of the season. But he also thinks it may have been the best thing for him.
“I feel like God did that to make my future even easier and more clear on where to go,” Likekele said. “Also, I didn’t return back to action for four months, so it was a mental challenge, but it made me stronger.”
Coach Duane Gregory said that Likekele has been a force for the Wolves over the last two seasons, and added that one of the things that most impresses him is the fact that his senior point guard continues to work to get even better.
“Isaac personally has been scoring more while still maintaining his production in rebounds and assists,” Gregory said. “Beyond that, his communication and leadership still remain his biggest areas of impact. It’s the stuff that doesn’t show in a stat sheet that separates him.”
Likele said he feels very optimistic about Timberview’s chances this season because the Wolves possess a team atmosphere that is critical to a long playoff run.
“What makes this team so special is our chemistry,” Likekele said. “Normally teams have a couple players who may not like each other, but on this team, when we say family, we actually mean it. We might disagree at times, but at the end we’re all laughing and having fun.”
The Timberview senior said he chose Fresno State for a couple of reasons.
“I just fell automatically into the family atmosphere as soon as I got there,” Likekele said. “And also it’s in the great Mountain West Conference, which I feel like I could be very successful in, young in my career.”
Gregory agreed that Fresno State was the right choice for Likekele and said he believes the feeling is mutual for FSU.
“I think Fresno State will be a good fit for him,” Gregory said. “He feels comfortable there. When he went on his visit, he told me he woke up the next morning and felt like he was at Timberview, so I think that level of comfort with coaches, players, etc. was a big piece of the puzzle for him.
“I know they are very excited to have him be a big part of their program moving forward.”