PHOENIX – When back-to-back meniscus tears for Jaylen Fisher nearly derailed his career, he responded to the adversity by joining fellow guard Isiah Brown, who also sought a fresh start, at Grand Canyon.
The two roommates represent the newest class of players drawn to GCU by the program’s track record for success among transfers under coach Dan Majerle and intrigued by the overwhelming support the team gets on campus.
Once Brown visited GCU’s campus and got a feel for student life and the energy surrounding the program, he was eager to become a part of it. He called GCU “a basketball school.”
“The community was something that I didn’t even know I was looking for until I got here,” Brown said. “It checked all the boxes for me.”
One of those boxes is the atmosphere at a GCU game. The Antelopes take pride in their large and energetic student section, called the “GCU Havocs.”
“I’ve played in a lot of big arenas in front of a lot of raucous crowds and stuff like that,” Brown said, “It’s really unlike any other place in the country.”
The energetic atmosphere was on full display this year when students camped out for several days in anticipation of the team’s annual “Midnight Madness” event that officially tips off the season. According to the Havocs’ official Twitter account, “Camp Elliott” drew the largest turnout ever, far surpassing the 168 tents of a year ago.
This year there were more than 200 tents in the encampment, named for the GCU student, Daniel Elliott, who started the tradition in 2015. Each tent must have a minimum of two people in it, and they blanketed the courtyard areas and the entrance of Grand Canyon University Arena like a multicolored quilt.
Brown and his teammates felt honored by all of the student love.
“It’s incredible. It makes it easier to come in here, work every day, and go to the gym late at night,” Brown said. “If they could do those things just to come watch, we should be able to … put our work in so we can put on a show.”
Brown first experienced the enthusiastic student section from afar, sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. Now, he and Fisher hope to experience it from the court as friends and teammates.
“When we first met we were kind of familiar with each other,” Brown said. “I was definitely familiar with him, with his game. We were really excited about playing with each other.”
Fisher, who is still awaiting NCAA eligibility approval, arrived at GCU from Texas Christian. He started 56 games during his three seasons at TCU, but injuries limited him to just nine games in his final season with the Horned Frogs, when he averaged 12.1 points a game.
Brown appeared in 60 games for Northwestern before announcing his transfer in March 2018. In a Twitter post, he cited his desire to advance his career as the primary determining factor in his decision to leave.