Nov. 13, 2002
Notre Dame, Ind. – University of Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey has announced the signing of guard Colin Falls from Park Ridge, Ill., and forward Omari Isreal from Rockville, Md., to national letters of intent to become members of the Irish basketball program beginning in the fall of 2003.
“We’re very excited to have Colin and Omari join our program,” Brey says. “When my staff and I began the recruiting process with these two young men, we knew we had some specific needs to fill with Matt Carroll, Dan Miller and Jere Macura graduating in the spring.
“Colin and Omari are two very talented players with impressive credentials both on and off the basketball court. They are a tremendous fit as student-athletes for the program we are building here at Notre Dame and are going to be key contributors for us once they begin their playing careers in an Irish uniform.”
Falls, a three-year starter at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., heads into his final scholastic season with 1,400 career points. The 6-4, 200-pound shooting guard averaged 24.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his junior season, while capturing first-team all-Chicago Catholic League honors for the second consecutive year. A second-team all-state selection by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, he led his team to two tournament titles – Wheeling Christmas Tournament and Niles West Tournament – during the 2001-02 school year and was named tournament MVP at both events. In addition, he earned first-team all-area accolades and served as team captain.
As a sophomore, he was named the Chicago Catholic League Player of the Year as he averaged 17.0 points per game, while leading his team to a 23-6 record and the regional championship. A first-team all-area pick, he earned honorable mention all-state honors from the Chicago Tribune. In the summer of 2001, he played with current Notre Dame men’s basketball player Rick Cornett (Country Club Hills, Ill.) on the Illinois Warriors AAU squad that captured the 17-and-under national championship title. Falls also participated in the 2002 Nike Camp this past summer.
“Colin has a tremendous shooting touch and range,” Brey says, “but he showed this summer that he has become a complete player and is not just a shooter. He’s shown that he can be a very good ballhandler and is a very versatile athlete at both ends of the floor, although the strength of his game is as an offensive threat and scorer.”
Isreal averaged 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots in his junior season at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Wheaton, Md. He has been an all-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) second-team selection each of the last two seasons. As a sophomore, Isreal averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and blocked 70 shots. In addition, he earned first-team all-country honors from both the Montgomery County Journal and Montgomery County Gazette and was an honorable mention all-Met selection by the Washington Post. The 6-8, 210-pound forward became the first freshman to make the varsity team at Our Lady of Good Counsel. He also has been chosen MVP of his team at OLGC and has garnered MVP honors in several tournaments – the ’00 Gonzaga D.C. Classic, the ’01 Bullis Holiday Classic and ’01 Quince Orchard Fight for Sight Tournament.
A three-year participant at the adidas ABCD camp, he was selected to the camp’s all-star team for underclassmen during the summer of 2000. A member of the D.C. Assault AAU Team, Isreal led that squad to the championship title at the Charlie Weber Tournament at the University of Maryland in September of 2002.
“Omari will give us great flexibility at the forward spot,” Breys says. “His size and ability to move on the court is very comparable to what Jordan Cornette does for us. Omari has the footwork and versatility to play in and around the basket, but also the skill to move outside.”