Sports

Isaiah Whitehead Soars for Seton Hall

c52f2434c25a3bc6c8a3_SHU_basketball.jpg
Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall Pirates
c52f2434c25a3bc6c8a3_SHU_basketball.jpg

NEWARK, NJ - When the ball mistakenly skipped off of Kris Dunn’s foot while he was dribbling early in the men's basketball game between Providence and Seton Hall, it somehow bounced right to Isaiah Whitehead, who scooped it up, and raced down the court for a reverse layup. Whitehead was fouled in the process and converted a three-point play.

Fate would have it that the ball landed in the hands of Whitehead. Dunn and Whitehead were both McDonald’s All-Americans out of high school and considered to be among the top guards in the country in their respective classes.

Dunn, a junior at Providence College, is considered by basketball scouts to be the best NBA-ready point guard in college today. Whitehead, a sophomore at Seton Hall University, had an injury-riddled freshman season that limited his effectiveness. However, this season he has blossomed into one of the most dynamic players in the Big East, leading Seton Hall to its best record in almost 15 years. Against Providence in the late February game, Whitehead scored 26 points and had 9 assists with a mesmerizing array of acrobatic shots and spectacular passes.

Sign Up for E-News

“It’s just basketball instincts,” said Whitehead. “I really can’t tell you what I was thinking, I was just playing.”

The much anticipated match-up between Dunn and Whitehead never materialized in the game as Dunn played sparingly due to illness.

What has materialized is that with Whitehead’s determination in developing his overall skills, he is once again being recognized in the same upper echelon level of players such as Dunn. Whitehead is certain to be an All-Big East selection and is in contention for the conference’s Player of the Year award. In the final 10 games of the season, Whitehead averaged 21.0 points and 5.7 assists, while leading all guards in the country in blocked shots.

Whitehead has achieved all this while making the adjustment from being primarily a shooting guard in high school, and in his first year at Seton Hall, to now learning to play point guard where he has to organize the offense making sure that the other players are involved.

“He’s really motivated to win,” said Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, who also is in the running for Big East Coach of the Year.  “That’s where he’s matured. Because in the past it was about him. But now it’s no longer about him. He understands it is about the team.”  Where did this incredible drive to play basketball come from?

Whitehead grew up as a basketball prodigy in Brooklyn’s Coney Island with the expectation that he would be the next great player in an area of the city where everything seems to be judged by basketball.  Before him were Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair, and Lance Stephenson, who all made it to the NBA; but, to this tight-knit community, it's that all three won the coveted New York City public school championships for famed Abraham Lincoln High School that they are most remembered for.

Whitehead did not disappoint when his time came at Lincoln.  He was a four- year starter for the Railsplitters, and in his junior year he joined this elite club in leading the school to a city title. After his senior year he was named Mr. Basketball in New York and is considered the best prospect to come out of New York in the last five years.

“I really feed into being competitive,” said Whitehead, when asked about his success on the court. “The more competitive it is on the floor, the more that I like it.“

With the Big East tournament about to begin, and with Seton Hall’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2006 right after that, Whitehead will certainly have plenty of chances to show his competitive nature in the next few weeks.

In addition to being a contributor to TAPinto, Mike Cohen is the Founder/Director of Throwback Sports, a sports program for children and the Sports Editor for Education Update in New York City. He can be reached at throwbacksports@verizon.net.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Maplewood Police Blotter - Three Thefts Reported, Including a Motor Vehicle

April 24, 2018

April 16 - Shoplifting; At approximately 3:15 p.m., officers responded to the 7-11 on Irvington Avenue on a reported shoplifter.  An employee reported that prior to officer’s arrival, a male entered the store, picked up several pieces of candy and then left without paying.

April 16 - Theft from Auto; At approximately 6:15 p.m. an unsecured vehicle parked on Van ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Man Arrested for Package Thefts

April 5 - Shoplifting; At approximately 3:15 p.m. officers responded to the Extra Supermarket on Irvington Ave on a reported shoplifter. Jean Legerme, age 21 of Newark was detained by security for attempting to leave the store without paying for several items. He was arrested, taken into custody and later released after being charged on a summons.

April 5 - Shoplifting; At ...

Sunny Skies for the South Mountain YMCA Healthy Kids Day Celebration

April 24, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The South Mountain YMCA celebrated Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, with lots of sun, activities, and healthy snacks, which were provided by the Stop and Shop of South Orange and Trader Joe's of Millburn,

The afternoon of fun included a climbing wall, an obstacle course, laser tag, bounce houses, and slides.

There was also an opportunity for kids to visit to the ...

41st Annual SOMA Interfaith Holocaust Service and March of Remembrance Held on Sunday

MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The 41st Annual SOMA Interfaith Holocaust Service and March of Remembrance was held on Sunday, April 15. The march assembled in Spiotta Park on Maplewood Avenue in Maplewood, and was called to order with the blowing of the shofar.

Local elected officials who attended included Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca, Maplewood Township Committee member Dean Dafis, and ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, April 25, 12:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

The Purposes and Rhythms of Jewish Living

Education Religions And Spirituality

Carousel_image_343f4e7d32430a1ca3f1_renoir4

Wed, April 25, 2:00 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Pierre-August Renoir: The Joys of Life at ...

Carousel_image_652a32ce70e2746ae183_r_olinsky_08-20-08_17_t_lo_res

Wed, April 25, 6:30 PM

South Mountain YMCA Civic House (in the Park), Maplewood

Maplewood Chamber of Commerce Presents Why Walk: ...

Business & Finance Health & Wellness Other

Carousel_image_982bc8344531b1a37c85_par_440

Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Academy Heights Residents: No More Valley Street Development Until Master Plan Approved

April 22, 2018

This past Thursday, April 19th, the South Orange Development Committee considered a presentation from developers regarding the All Star Motors site on Valley Street between 3rd and 4th. The proposal is for a 61 unit dormitory/boarding house for college students, with 175 beds and limited parking on a lot that is partially zoned for two-family residential. About 20 Academy Heights neighbors ...

Women Need Better Treatment Behind Bars, Lawmakers Say

April 25, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Middlesex County Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) held a roundtable discussion Monday with criminal justice reform advocates and formally incarcerated women to discuss legislation Lopez and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle are introducing, modeled after legislation Booker introduced in the Senate, to reform the way women are treated behind ...

Saint Barnabas Medical Center Celebrates Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Day

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) recently hosted a sold-out Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Day educational program, featuring Arash Fazl, M.D., Ph.D., a movement disorder specialist board-certified in Psychiatry and Neurology. 

Dr. Fazl, a Barnabas Health Medical Group provider, spoke to a capacity crowd of more than 200 people about the latest ...

Amazon Works to End Stigma of “Free and Reduced” Meals at School

April 21, 2018

FLORENCE, NJ – There is a widely unknown problem in schools all over America: a stigma among many children who are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

Rather than face the peer pressure of receiving breakfast or lunch through this federal program, many choose to remain hungry.

To help eliminate the practice, Amazon has partnered with Share our Strength’s “No Kid ...

Endangered Bog Turtle Plods Through Senate Towards Official Designation as State Reptile

TRENTON, NJ - The endangered bog turtle is one step closer to being designated New Jersey's official state reptile, following State Senate approval of legislation sponsored by Senator Kip Bateman (R-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon) and inspired by students from Princeton.

Riverside Elementary School Students Kyle Grzmala and Hayah Mian, and their teacher Mark Eastburn, joined ...

South Orange-Maplewood Baseball Softball Parade on Saturday, April 28

April 25, 2018

The annual parade celebrating the kick-off of the 2018 baseball and softball season for South Orange and Maplewood children will be held Saturday, April 28.

The parade, led by members of the CHS Marching Band, will leave New Waterlands Park at 9:00 am sharp and walk a route from 3rd Street to Sloan Street to South Orange Avenue and along the bike/pedestrian path along the river to Cameron ...

Cardinal Tobin to Speak at B’nai Jeshurun

Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Short Hills, will welcome Cardinal Joseph Tobin on Wednesday, May 2nd at 7:00 pm.  Cardinal Tobin currently serves at the head of the Archdiocese of Newark. Members of the community are invited to hear Cardinal Tobin speak about how Pope Francis is forging a culture of encounter by renewing the dialogue between Christians and Jews.  In the pope’s ...

Class Act Performing Arts Studio Presents "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" at SOPAC

Class Act Performing Arts Studio’s senior Musical Theatre Company members will perform “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” Thursday, May 10th , 2018 through Sunday, May 13th, 2018 at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.

Set in 19th-century London, this thrilling musical tells the story of barber Benjamin Barker, now known by his alias, Sweeney Todd, and his ...