One of the nation's elite shooting guards, Isaiah Whitehead, shook up the college basketball landscape Wednesday when he announced his commitment to Seton Hall, according to Jerry Meyer of 247Sports.
The 6'4'', 195-pounder is a 5-star recruit, and he is listed as the No. 17 player in the 2014 class by 247Sports' composite rankings. He chose the Pirates over Indiana, St. John's, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Syracuse, among others.
Justin Tasch of the New York Daily News gave us some insight into why Whitehead chose Seton Hall:
It was Pirates coach Kevin Willard and his staff’s consistency in its recruitment, and an opportunity to be the face of its program, that ultimately led Whitehead to the Garden State.
“It appealed to me greatly,” Whitehead said of being the face of Seton Hall basketball. “That’s the reason I’m going there, to tell you the truth.”
He didn’t feel that would be the case had he stayed in the city and went to play for St. John’s and coach Steve Lavin.
“They really didn’t see me as the face of St. John’s before,” Whitehead said, “so I don’t understand why they would now.”
The commitment is an immediate boost to a Seton Hall squad that is sorely in need of one. The Pirates sputtered to a 2012-13 record of 15-18, including a hapless 3-15 conference slate in the former Big East.
Despite their recent struggles, Seton Hall is pulling in a solid recruiting class that has turned elite with Whitehead's announcement.
Whitehead will add to a backcourt that has the potential of becoming one of the nation's best upon the shooting guard's arrival.
Point guard Sterling Gibbs is now eligible after transferring from Texas and sitting out a year. Meanwhile, incoming guard Jaren Sina is the 118th-ranked player in the 2013 class, via 247Sports' composite rankings.
Whitehead is a prolific scorer with a physical style of play that allows him to cut toward the basket with ease. As the Pirates make the transition from the old Big East to the new Big East, they'll get a leg up with this young flock of potential stars.
After his second losing seasons in three years at the helm, head coach Kevin Willard must love seeing his team generating a lot of buzz after feeling the heat from last season.
If Seton Hall can take advantage of its newfound talent, it should have no problem making its first NCAA tournament since 2005-06 in the coming seasons.