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DECATUR — Every time Isaiah Bond picks up his cell phone, 15 names stare back at him on his lock screen.

It’s not his teammates, family or a list of his closest friends. It’s simply a list of names he hopes to be in the company of by season’s end.

That list is also posted outside of St. Teresa boys basketball coach Tom Noonan’s office — a list of 1,000-point scorers in school history.

That’s where Bond wants to be.

As of Sunday, Bond is sitting at 882 career points, fresh off Friday’s 33-point performance against Auburn.

His goal is well within reach when the top-seeded Bulldogs open play in the Macon County Tournament at 6 p.m. tonight against Sangamon Valley.

Bond would be the Bulldogs' first 1,000-point scorer since Christian WIlliams reached the milestone in 2015.

“It feels pretty good,” Bond said. “It’s a goal I definitely hope to reach pretty soon.

“I never really thought about it as a freshman, but yeah, I guess it is something I always hoped to do.”

The 6-foot guard has been on varsity since he was a freshman in 2015, when the Bulldogs finished second in Class 2A. Since, he’s been a primary scorer for St. Teresa.

His offensive game has come naturally. The lefty mimics his favorite player, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, with crafty drives to the rim through traffic.

It’s his strength.

“He’s really smooth getting to the rim,” Noonan said. “Isaiah has a knack for getting to the basket. He’s able to finish in some tight quarters.”

Bond's skills around the rim were developed from a weakness growing up — shooting. Without a knock-down 3-point game, he had to find different ways to be effective.

But now, Bond is older and wiser, and the 3-point shot that eluded him growing up is developing into another weapon to round out his offensive arsenal.

“Right now, that’s one of the missing pieces of my game,” Bond said of his outside shot. “Another thing I would like to work on is driving right.”

Bond felt a change of confidence as a freshman, running through Noonan’s shooting drills. That part of his game was finally starting to come.

Now, he has full confidence in his ability to knock down an open shot.

“He has a really good pull-up game and a really good game at the rim. Now we have to force them to close out so he can open those other two,” Noonan said.

Bond is just as comfortable slashing to the hoop as he is setting up on the block and putting defenders into a spin cycle in the post. During practice, he likes to remind teammate Beau Branyan that if he possessed Branyan’s height — 6-foot-4 — then he would be one of the best post players in the state.

“I have a pretty nice set of post moves, I’ve just never had to show them off,” Bond said.

Some of his skills in the post can be attributed to geometry.

“His length,” Noonan said of what makes Bond’s moves in the post so effective. “He has an ability to see over guys. He’s smooth around the rim and he understands angles really well.”

This season, Bond is working on becoming more of a facilitator for the Bulldogs. He’s surrounded by playmakers, allowing him and teammate Manny Green — the duo have played together since they were five years old — to zip the ball around the court to an open teammate.

“He’s been very open this season to understanding that he’s going to give up some shots and he’s going to give up the basketball a little bit more,” Noonan said. “I think we have more offensive weapons this season than we’ve had the previous two seasons.

“We’re not looking for him to score as much as we have previous years, but I still think within our game he’s going to score a lot and (1,000 points is) going to naturally happen the way we play.”

When he reaches 1,000 he will join Williams in the club — another bond between the two players after reaching Carver Arena in 2015.

They remain good friends. Bond texts Williams, who played two seasons at Iowa and is transferring to Indiana State, to ask about college basketball — something Bond hopes to play as well.

When Williams returns to Decatur, they go to the gym to get shots up, pick each other’s brains and play one-on-one.

“I love playing against him,” Bond said. “I always tell him I can beat him now. I get a lot of shots up against him.”

On the occasions Bond does win, he always takes the time to remind Williams that he got the best of him.

And it’s a safe bet that Bond will take the time to text Williams, or vice versa, when Bond reaches his milestone.



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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