On Thursday afternoon, Isaiah Whitehead held a press conference and said, “I’d like to announce that I’ll be taking my talents to Seton Hall University.” The former Gophers recruit joins an elite 2014 SHU class with several other Top 100 players such as Khadeen Carrington, Angel Delgado and Ismael Sanogo. Seton Hall and head coach Kevin Willard have made a big splash this offseason and they’ll likely have one of the top five or ten recruiting classes in the country.
In terms of Whitehead’s recruitment, the Pirates had not been very relevant in the process until a couple of weeks ago when Whitehead, to everyone’s surprise, announced that he would be taking an unofficial visit to the South Orange, N.J. university. At the time, the media had gathered that his top schools were Arizona, Indiana, Minnesota, and UCLA.
Coincidentally, reports surfaced Thurs. that Seton Hall would be offering a coaching position to Tiny Morton, Whitehead’s current coach at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. The NCAA does not prohibit this as it has happened numerous times in the past, however it has stirred commotion on Twitter. There has been no announced agreement between the university and Morton to this point, though there could already be a verbal agreement in place.
Throughout his whole recruitment process, Whitehead has been a symbol of uncertainty. He’s kept the public guessing and speculating about who the favorites were and where he might or might not be visiting. I find it hard to imagine that he came to such a concrete decision in the small time period that Seton Hall entered the picture, especially given the circumstances with his coach. I’m not entirely convinced that he’s fully confident with his college decision.
If I’m Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino, I’m shooting Whitehead a text today. Nothing shady that might dissuade him from his decision, just something that would reinforce the Gophers interest in him. I truly believe that the Big Ten is the stage that Whitehead should play on. The new Big East, though clearly a once strong basketball conference, does not carry the prestige or tradition of the Big Ten. We’ve seen many players who are verbally committed to a school bolt and by no means am I supporting this practice, but I could see Whitehead as the type to get cold feet.
Either way it’s time for Gophers fans to move on. There’s been some negativity among the fan base about our recruits going elsewhere, but this has been the most exciting recruiting season in recent memory with all the hype the Gophers have been getting. I love seeing the ambition in Pitino and am fully confident that if he keeps at it, we will see growth in our program. Go Gophers.