- Adam Finkelstein
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- ESPN 60 products Chris McCullough (Bronx, N.Y./Brewster Academy) and Isaiah Whitehead (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln), the top two prospects to come out of New York City’s 2014 class, combined for a variety of highlight reel plays at Sunday night’s Sharette Dixon Memorial Classic.
Their undeniable on-court chemistry only added fuel to a growing sentiment that the two will play together at the next level, despite the fact that they haven’t truly teamed up since middle school.
“We played together in the seventh and eighth grade,” McCullough said. “It was called the Junior High School Pro League. Since then I’ve only played with him at the Syracuse Camp and at Kansas [camp].”
“We’ve only played together a couple of times,” Whitehead agreed, “but we already have a good feel for each other.”
“We both like each other’s games,” McCullough added. “I set screens and he looks for me.”
Look for him he did. In fact, the duo put together a string of plays that were among the most explosive of the night. With McCullough as his wingman, Whitehead, who is typically known for his scoring prowess, seemed very content to play the role of distributor and seized the opportunity to showcase the type of floor vision and passing ability that often gets overshadowed by his powerful scoring game. McCullough only had to do what he does best, run the floor and play high above the rim to make plays that no one else in the gym could duplicate and make it look easy at the same time.
Following the game, Whitehead said that he and McCullough often talk about the possibility of playing together at the next level, despite the fact that they have never played on the same high school or travel team.
“It could happen. Let’s just say that,” he said with a sly smile.
While there are several schools that overlap both players’ still lengthy lists, the idea of a package deal seems to center around one school specifically, Syracuse. And McCullough went so far as to say that Jim Boeheim’s club had already emerged as his favorite at this point in his recruitment.
“Yeah, they’re the leader,” he said of Syracuse while also mentioning St. John’s, Rutgers, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, UCLA, and West Virginia, among others.
Not surprisingly, Whitehead’s list also began with Syracuse followed by St. John’s, Louisville, Kentucky, Florida, and Florida State.
Whether or not this proposed package deal will ever come to fruition remains to be seen, but after Sunday night’s on-court synergy and postgame interviews, there’s no longer any denying that it is a very real possibility.