Ready to take her shot

Isabella Escribano, 10, has gotten so good so quickly with a basketball that she’s already playing and working out with college and players. PHOTO BY DAN LOVI
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It’s a Thursday evening in late August and the basketball court at the local LA Fitness is starting to get crowded.

While a few men around the age of 30 are playing 3-on-3 on one side of the court, they begin to get distracted by 10-year-old Isabella Escribano from Canyon Country, who is running intense shooting and dribbling drills on the other side of the court.

Isabella crosses over while receiving constant pressure from her two coaches acting as defenders, each of which are at least 3 feet taller than her.

One onlooker turns to another and says, “Have you ever seen anything like her?”

It’s a normal reaction when you first meet Isabella in person, or when you watch her videos on social media, where she has more than 11,000 followers on her Instagram page.

She goes by Jiggy Izzy, a moniker her brother Marco Escribano gave her because he defines jiggy as “dancing with the ball and shaking people up.”

Izzy definitely knows how to handle the basketball and dribble in style, a skill she’s improved on since she first picked up a basketball in January of 2017.

During summer, her training schedule starts at 5 a.m. at the gym, where she works out with her brother and Skye Isles, a former teammate of Marco’s who helps coach and mentor Izzy.

During school, Izzy practices after she finishes her homework, an hour of shooting and an hour of dribbling in the gym. Then she hits the park to work on defensive slides, jumps and sprints.

When she’s not working on her craft in the gym or at the park, she’s studying film that her brother stayed up the night before putting together for her.

“Sometimes I’m up until 3 a.m. I write notes, game plans and workouts for the next day,” Marco said. “I’m looking at videos and the next morning I’ll have her look at the notebook and videos so she’ll know how to watch film when she gets to high school.”

Isabella has gotten so good so quickly that she’s already playing and working out with college and professional players. She also plays frequently against boys.

“I try to play for the best team that fits for me,” Isabella said. “Sometimes I play with boys to get used to girls because it’s going to be easier when I go against girls after.”

This fall she will be training with Julius V Elite, who trains some of the top boys in the country. He has a laundry list of players he trained who are now in the NBA including three-time NBA champion Klay Thompson.

“I want to challenge her every single week, not get comfortable playing with girls,” Marco said. “Playing with the boys, that’s what will make her better. She’ll even run games with Skye and I in here.”

In addition to training with Julius V Elite, Isabella will commute to the Inland Empire for the next few months to play for the West Coast Premier Basketball Academy, a club team with WNBA alumni that competes nationwide.

Her Instagram account @_jiggy
izzy is already followed by several WNBA and NBA players, who send her messages frequently.

“We’re showing that girls can go this hard, that girls can dribble this way and girls can play this way, just the same as guys,” Marco said. “College players and WNBA players reach out saying they want to go as hard as Izzy.”

Marco described his sister as a “miracle baby,” because their father Marco Escribano Sr. had battled cancer and was told he wouldn’t be able to have any more children.

“I always make it a point to tell her, you’re on this Earth for a reason,” Marco said. “I think we’re figuring out that reason now. That’s why I think she’s so blessed in everything she does.”

Isabella’s motto is “I want to change the game of women’s basketball.”

At only 10 years old, she’s already beginning to accomplish that feat.

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