BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Since our online poll started one week ago over 17,000 votes were cast by 435 people for our Battle Creek Tigers 2019-2020 Athlete of the Year. Each of the coaches selections for their ‘Player of the Year’ for boys basketball, girls basketball and volleyball were included as choices for ‘Athlete of the Year’ in the poll. When voting closed at 11:59 pm on Sunday, April 5, 2020 Isaiah Stein had received the most votes with a total count of 10,048 votes; 59% of the total vote. Read more about our Battle Creek Tigers 2019-2020 Athlete of the Year Isaiah Stein and his full story below.
BOYS VARSITY BASKETBALL
#31 Isaiah Stein, Sophomore
Isaiah Stein has started to shine in many ways throughout the past year both on and off the court. Stein says that his motivation and drive to continually improve his skills in basketball comes from his love of the sport and his family and friends who have always supported him and cheered for him at every game. Stein says those who have doubted him have only inspired him to want to become a better person and player.
Stein’s passion for basketball and strong work ethic have helped him develop into a dominating force at both ends of the court. Athletic Director Shadrach Grentz said, “I think it was during a summer basketball game at Harper Creek High School against Olivet High School that I really started to realize Isaiah was going to be a dominating force on the court. We would take the ball down the court and throw the ball in to him each time, no one could stop him.” That consistency from Stein proved to be very key in the Tigers 14-6 campaign this season.
While Stein shows great consistency on the court that is not where it ends for the 6′ 4″ Sophomore. “Isaiah is an authentically gifted individual and consistently displays a Christlike character both on and off the basketball court”, said Battle Creek Academy Science Teacher Dr. Mary Kerr. Showing Christlike character and ministering to others through Christlike actions is the highest aim of the Battle Creek Tigers Athletics Ministry Program. Coach Mike Howard said, “in practice Isaiah always worked hard and stayed focused on the task at hand. During games, he was intense and competitive, yet never lost control or showed disrespect for teammates, opponents or officials.” Showing Christlike character in the most intense situations is a life skill that Isaiah has truly exemplified.
In the classroom at Battle Creek Academy, Stein is an inspirational leader who leads by example and demonstrates the same determination and work ethic that he does on the court. Stein is highly respected by his peers and demonstrates the same kindness and consideration for others that can be observed in his good sportsmanship on the court. Science Teacher Dr. Mary Kerr said, “Isaiah has a positive influence on his friends and classmates academically, socially, and spiritually. He does his schoolwork both thoroughly and thoughtfully while having a terrific sense of humor which is infectious to his class.” Earlier this year Stein was recognized at an all school assembly for his outstanding academic achievements as a member of the Battle Creek Academy Principal’s List (GPA of 3.75 or higher).
This season Stein climbed to second in boys basketball program history for blocked shots in a game (7) and blocked shots in a season (46). Stein also set personal bests, scoring his career high in back to back games with 26 points against both Andrews Academy on 2-22-20 and Covert High School on 2-25-20. Those games were both great moments for Stein but he says his best memory from this season was the home opener against Marshall Academy. Stein said, “that night felt good. It was so hype that everyone was there to support my teammates and I. Once they called my name and number I had this felling that I haven’t felt in a while, but I was ready and locked in.”
This season was a tremendous year for Stein but next season may be even better when he will get to team up with his brothers Jalend and Nehemiah on the court. This year Jalend was injured most all of the season and Nehemiah spent his time playing on the Middle School and Junior Varsity basketball teams. Next season will be the first time that all of the brothers will be together on the same team. With this in mind, Stein has goals of becoming a better friend, teammate and student athlete. Stein says, “I want to boost my work performance in every way I can. Which includes increasing my speed, strength, physique and more.” Stein’s goals do not focus only on personal achievements but also on his whole team. Stein say he hopes to “grow a strong chemistry with all off his teammates and be a leader to them.” Coach Mike Howard said, “Isaiah is dependable, focused, highly skilled and relentless in reaching his objectives. I have no doubts that Isaiah will continue to excel both on and off the court.”