NCB On The Trail: Isaiah Whitehead

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ESPN 100 guard Isaiah Whitehead is a prospect who could be a major factor in the resurgence of Seton Hall basketball. He has been up and down in terms of his consistency and production, but he owns all the tools to be a great college player. Whitehead has a strong body, a competitive spirit, potent scoring skills and great court vision.

Now the flip side to that is there are nights he doesn't move well without the ball to get open. And he sometimes displays poor shot selection and takes a high volume of attempts, which freezes his teammates out of the action.

At the Elite 24 game in New York last summer, Whitehead dropped 26 points in front of the home crowd and did it within the flow of the game. He is at his best when he is attacking the basket because he can take a hit and finish. His jumper is more than capable from distance, and he thrives in the transition game. When he plays the right way and within the team concept, he can be very good.

Whitehead is on the East roster for the Jordan Brand Classic (7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN2) but may have to sit out due to a sore hamstring.

There is talk that his high school coach, Tiny Morton, will join the Pirates' coaching staff and have the chance to coach him again at Seton Hall. Whitehead certainly has the talent to make Seton Hall relevant again.

McDonald's Game players to watch 

April, 2, 2014
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The basketball world will be watching the 37th annual McDonald’s All-American Game on Wednesday night (ESPN, 9:30 p.m. ET) from the United Center in Chicago.

The 24 players selected to participate have already received the greatest honor in high school basketball, but with practices having started, they’re quickly realizing that this week is as much about things to come as it is a celebration of their careers to date.

The game isn’t just a chance for these players to excite their future fan bases, but also to perform, in many cases for the first time in their career, in front of NBA scouts and front office personnel expected from all 30 teams. It all but ensures a competitive few days of action as the players are always anxious to make a good impression.

That type of environment is also ideal for our ESPN RecruitingNation staff as we take one of our final looks at the top players in the country before ultimately putting the Class of 2014 player rankings to bed. With that in mind, we asked our team of evaluators which player they were most interested in observing this week:

McDonald's game matchups to watch 

April, 1, 2014
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CHICAGO -- The prestigious McDonald's All American Game annually brings together the best talent in high school basketball, all on one stage. Here are a few game matchups to watch for this year's star-studded event, which can be seen live on ESPN Wednesday night at 9:30 ET.


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2014 ESPN 100: 10 things to know 

January, 30, 2014
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video
Here are 10 things to know about the updated 2014 ESPN 100 player rankings.


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Top players at Hoophall Classic 

January, 19, 2014
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The 2014 Spalding Hoophall Classic, one of the best events of the year, began its Hall of Fame Showcase of games at Springfield College with matchups involving elite players and programs.

Mr. Productive: J.C Washington (Houston/Yates)
Washington doesn't need a ton of shots to be happy. When his hands touch the ball, something good usually happens. He can score on putbacks and short jumpers in the lane. On defense, he takes charges and rebounds with consistency. But perhaps the most impressive part about Washington is the energy and effort he shows on every possession. A local product, he wants to stay home and be a Cougar.


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Biancardi’s Breakdown: Best for '14 

December, 30, 2013
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Basketball is played right through the new year, so as we look back and plan ahead let’s take a look halfway through this season at which 2014 prospects have performed best in 14 categories.

1. Best in the low post: Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young), Duke signee
If a team needs to score a basket in the lower half of the painted area, Okafor is the one to pass it to. He has secure hands to catch almost any pass and a soft touch with superb footwork. He also has a wide mobile body to seal his man and the patience to throw the ball back out and re-post his 7-foot-3 wing span.


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City of Palms Classic recap 

December, 26, 2013
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The City of Palms Classic is, in my opinion, the best high school basketball tournament in the country. The field is always strong, the games are generally highly competitive, and the crowd is involved and boisterous. The 41st edition of the tournament was extremely good and full of high-level talent.

Here were some of the best performances from this year's City of Palms.

Best Player
Isaiah Whitehead (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln)
2014, SG/PG, 6-foot-3, 200 pounds
Signed with Seton Hall
Whitehead is much improved and is one of the best guards in the country. He plays like a man among boys, and his ability to make plays for himself and others really sets him apart. He is more than capable of playing point guard at the next level and beyond. He averaged more than 25 points per game at the City of Palms and rarely forced anything while leading Lincoln to a fifth-place finish.


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Seton Hall welcomes four-man class

November, 16, 2013
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Seton Hall basketball coach Kevin Willard announced the signing of four student-athletes -- including two ESPN 100 prospects -- to letters of intent on Friday.

Leading the way for the Pirates are ESPN 100 shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) and ESPN 100 power forward Angel Delgado (Bronx, N.Y./Huntington Prep), along with three-star shooting guard Khadeen Carrington (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Loughlin) and three-star small forward Ismael Sanogo (Newark, N.J./East Side).

"We are excited to officially welcome Isaiah, Angel, Khadeen and Ismael to the Seton Hall basketball family," Willard said. "The future for Pirate basketball looks bright with this talented group headed to South Orange next season. This class has an opportunity to elevate Seton Hall basketball to new heights and leave their mark on this program."

 

Recap: Sharette Dixon Memorial Classic 

October, 20, 2013
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BRONX, N.Y. -- The fifth annual Sharette Dixon Memorial Classic was held Saturday night at Gauchos Gym, pitting top prospects from the state of New Jersey against their peers from the greater New York City area in both an underclassmen and upperclassmen game.

The collection of talent was a fitting tribute to an inspirational woman who was a wife, mother and educator. Proceeds from the event will support a family education and child care fund established for her three children.

New York City defended its home turf in both games, winning a hard fought battle in the underclassmen game and then running away with the upperclassmen matchup.


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ESPN 100 recruits who defy positions 

October, 10, 2013
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The subject of positions has become a hot topic of basketball at all levels, with the same questions being asked all the way from the NBA down to the youth levels.

Are traditional positions still relevant? What’s the best way to define the five players on the floor? Are positions even necessary?

[+] EnlargeMyles Turner
Courtesy of Kelly Kline/Under ArmourAt 6-foot-11, Myles Turner, who is the nation's No. 2 player, is athletic enough to not be defined as a traditional center.
Terms like center, power forward, small forward, shooting guard and point guard were used when most teams played with three perimeter players around two big men. The risk in using those labels now, when the game is spaced almost universally four around one, isn’t just that the terminology is incompatible with the product, but more importantly the heightened sensitivity of players to the perceptions and limitations caused by those labels. Big men don’t want to be called centers. Big forwards want to be called small forwards and each perimeter player out there thinks he can be a point guard.

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Weekly Commitment Roundup

September, 20, 2013
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SEC
Kentucky
Tyler Ulis PG Matteson, Ill./Marian Catholic
HT: 5-9 WT: 150
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 8
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 38

Vanderbilt
Matthew Fisher-Davis SG Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian
HT: 6-5 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 28
Stars: 4

Texas A&M
Alex Robinson PG Arlington, Texas/Timberview
HT: 6-1 WT: 170
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 20
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 89

Big Ten
Purdue
Vincent Edwards SF Middletown, Ohio/Middletown
HT: 6-7 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 22
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 80

Big East
Georgetown
Paul White PF Chicago/Whitney Young
HT: 6-8 WT: 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 14
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 57

Seton Hall
Isaiah Whitehead SG Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln
HT: 6-4 WT: 195
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 10
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 35

ACC
Florida State
Josh Gray PG Houston/Odessa College (Juco)
HT: 6-1 WT: 175
Class of 2014

Virginia Tech
T.J. Lang SF Mobile, Ala./McGill-Toolen Catholic
HT: 6-7 WT: 195
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Virginia
Jack Salt C Auckland, New Zealand/Westlake
HT: 6-10
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Wake Forest
Rondale Watson SG Lewisburg, W.Va./Greenbrier East
HT: 6-3
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

American Athletic
Cincinnati
Quadri Moore C Linden, N.J./Linden
HT: 6-8 WT: 225
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 8
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 83

Gary Clark PF Clayton, N.C./Clayton
HT: 6-7 WT: 215
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 26
Stars: 4

Central Florida
Alex Owens PF Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge
HT: 6-8 WT: 230
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 9
Stars: 4
ESPN 60: 44

Corey Sanders PG Lakeland, Fla./IMG Academy
HT: 6-1 WT: 185
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 3

Atlantic 10
Virginia Commonwealth
Terry Larrier SF Bronx, N.Y./The Phelps School
HT: 6-7 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 15
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 59

Richmond
Paul Friendshuh PF New Prague, Minn./New Prague
HT: 6-9 WT: 205
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Conference USA
Tulsa
Mitch Wilbekin PG Gainesville, Fla./The Rock School
HT: 6-1 WT: 160
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

UTEP
Trey Touchet SG Lafayette, La./St. Thomas More
HT: 6-2 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Middle Tennessee State
DeVante Jones SG Chicago/Southwest Tennessee C.C. (Juco)
HT: 5-11
Class of 2014

Mountain West
Boise State
David Wacker C Converse, Texas/Judson
HT: 6-9 WT: 235
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Air Force
Jacob Van PG Mansfield, Texas/Lake Ridge
HT: 6-2
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Southern Conference
Davidson
Rusty Reigel SG Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Latin
HT: 6-2 WT: 190
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Western Carolina
Alex Hicks PF Phenix City, Ala./Glenwood School
HT: 6-8 WT: 195
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

NEC
Mount St. Mary's
Troy Henderson SF Charlotte, N.C./Gaston Day School
HT: 6-6 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

St. Francis (Pa.)
Basil Thompson SF Philadelphia/Imhotep Institute
HT: 6-6 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Sacred Heart
Cane Broome PG East Hartford, Conn./St. Thomas More
HT: 6-0 WT: 160
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

MAC
Western Michigan
Drake Lamont C Plantation, Fla./American Heritage
HT: 6-9 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 39
Stars: 3

Ball State
Sean Sellers SF Greensburg, Ind./Greensburg
HT: 6-6 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Big South
Liberty
A.C. Reid SF Spring Branch, Texas/Smithson Valley
HT: 6-5 WT: 190
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

UNC-Asheville
Kevin Vannatta SG Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington
HT: 6-2
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big Sky
Montana State
Ghassan Nehme SG Colorado Springs, Colo./Cheyenne Mountain
HT: 6-3 WT: 174
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Weber State
Hayden Hunter PG North Richland Hills, Texas/Richland
HT: 5-11
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Idaho State
Geno Luzcando PG Mount Pleasant, Utah/Wasatch Academy
HT: 6-3
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

America East
UMass-Lowell
Josh Gantz PF Grove City, Ohio/Bishop Ready
HT: 6-6 WT 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Dontavious Smith PF Springhill, La./North Webster
HT: 6-8
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Binghamton
John Schurman SG Manlius, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius
HT: 6-5
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Missouri Valley
Bradley
Donte Thomas SF South Holland, Ill./Thornwood
HT: 6-6
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Northern Iowa
Luke McDonnell PF Dubuque, Iowa/Dubuque Senior
HT: 6-8 WT: 200
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

OVC
Murray State
JayQuan McCloud PG North Chicago, Ill./North Chicago Community
HT: 6-4 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Tennessee-Martin
Chris Clark SG Columbia, Mo./Hickman
HT: 6-3 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

SIU-Edwardsville
C.J. Carr PG Rock Island, Ill./Rock Island
HT: 5-6 WT: 145
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Horizon League
Oakland
Alek Frascone PG Washington Township, Mich./Eisenhower
HT: 6-0 WT: 150
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Summit League
South Dakota State
Mike Daum PF Kimball, Neb./Kimball
HT: 6-9
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Atlantic Sun
Florida Gulf Coast
Eric Moeller C St. Louis/Central Florida C.C. (Juco)
HT: 6-11 WT: 200
Class of 2014

Mercer
Demetre Rivers PF Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford
HT: 6-6
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Ivy League
Princeton
Alec Brennan PF Weston, Mass./Milton Academy
HT: 6-10 WT: 225
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 35
Stars: 3

Brown
Patrick Triplett PG St. Louis/Bayless Senior
HT: 6-4 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

WCC
Pepperdine
Nate Gehring C Waukee, Iowa/Waukee
HT: 6-10 WT: 220
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 44
Stars: 3

MAAC
Quinnipiac
Ayron Hutton SG Virginia Beach, Va./Cape Henry
HT: 6-3
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.



Even though Louisville had a couple of players recently decommit they are not pursuing Isaiah Whitehead. The Cardinals are probably deepest right now at the shooting guard and wing spots and really don't need that position. Committed for next season is Shaqquan Aaron, a long, smooth athletic wing who possesses natural scoring instincts with great size and length on the perimeter. Now on campus as freshman are Anton Gill, a left-handed shooter and driver who is terrific at coming off screens, and Terry Rozier, a high-level athlete who owns the qualities to play on the ball as a lead guard or slide over and play off the ball. Add to that roster a pair of juniors in SF Wayne Blackshear and Kevin Ware, who will return to action sometime this season after his broken right leg heals. Don't forget Minnesota has been on Whitehead all spring and summer, and that is where Rick Pitino's son Richard is the head coach. That might also add to the reasoning of the Cards not pursuing Whitehead at this time, but the fact is there is no real need to.

Look for Louisville to still pursue a point guard in this class. If there is not anyone good enough in the high school ranks, they may go back to the junior college market, because that's where they found Chris Jones, who will be their starting point guard this season.

#AskCoachB: Minnesota recruiting

September, 3, 2013
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

 

The Gophers have ton of offers on the table, and that's the norm when you have a new head coach. When Richard Pitino was hired in April, there there was not a lot he could accomplish on the recruiting trail for the 2013 class. By that late in the recruiting calendar, many players were already committed and everyone he was trying to get involved with had other programs on them for a long time, so he was playing a major catchup game. Fast forward to the present and as the school year begins, Pitino and his staff have been relentless in evaluating and offering players in the 2014 class. This will be their first full recruiting class, and it will make an impact on the program.

There are several signees who would constitute a win. ESPN 100 power forward Reid Travis lives extremely close to campus, had a fantastic summer and could be the face of the program. Fellow Minnesota native and No. 1 shooting guard Rashad Vaughn, who recently took an unofficial visit to campus before heading out to play his senior season at Findlay Prep (Nev.) would be a go-to guy immediately. They are also making headway on ESPN 100 prospect Isaiah Whitehead, a dynamic scoring guard form New York. Lourawls Nairn and J.P. Macura have also been to campus and have a high interest.

A loss would be if they they strike out early with the guys on their list and then panic and take a player who can't help just to be on the board. Minnesota needs to have a plan, stick to it, and bring in the talent and traits that are needed to move into the upper crust in the Big Ten. Pitino was a terrific recruiter as an assistant coach and brought in some league-winning talent at Florida International. It will happen in time for Gophers fans.
Jahlil Okafor, Tyus JonesESPN, Icon SMIJahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones have discussed going to school together and the ESPN 100 prospects have scheduled several official visits as a tandem.
One of the lasting themes of the Class of 2014 has been the perpetual rumors of package deals, and yet as we get closer to and closer to November’s early signing period we’re still waiting for the first to come to fruition.

With that in mind, we examined the most rumored potential package deals in the country and set the odds in order to determine which have the best chance of actually happening.

First though, it’s necessary to define what a “package deal” is. In it’s purest form, it would be a situation where two or more prospects are recruited in unison and make one collaborative decision. But there really aren’t many situations currently like that in the 2014 class, with one notable exception.

Instead, most of the recent talk around “package deals” really reflects prospects that could potentially end up at the same school, even if they don’t go through the recruiting process together. As such, that is the definition which we’ll operate under for the purposes of this article and projecting the likelihood of such deals actually happening.


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Starting 5: Top PGs left on the board 

August, 27, 2013
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Each week, Starting 5 takes you on a tour of the recruiting landscape. It delves into topics, recruiting trends and stories. This edition focuses on the pressure of drawing out your commitment, the Elite 24, Indiana's busy weekend, the five best uncommitted point guards and No. 1 sophomore Harry Giles.

1. The stress of the decision


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