As everyone is aware by now, Isaiah Whitehead announced his decision to the world yesterday and as it turns out, he went in a somewhat unexpected route. Whitehead’s final choice ended up being Seton Hall, which up until the final hours before his announcement, was a surprise.
For the last couple of days, everyone was guessing that St John’s was the final choice and it almost looked set in stone. As the decision loomed, some insiders began tweeting that Seton Hall looked like the pick and that St John’s would be left out in the dust.
So what changed? Well, while under NCAA regulations, teams may not be able to give benefits to players or families, it doesn’t stop them from giving them jobs. Seton Hall hired Whitehead’s current high school coach as an assistant, giving them a huge edge in terms of familiarity. Ultimately, it was enough to convince Whitehead to head on over to Seton Hall.
In the aftermath of his decision, the reaction from other fanbases, especially those whose teams were in the running for Whitehead, has been decidedly negative. There are cries of illegal activities and tampering. Some believe that sanctions will be coming Seton Hall’s way for their actions.
In all honesty, this is more of a risk for Seton Hall than a shortcut to long term success. The NCAA only allows for three assistant coaches, now they have one tied up to what is essentially one player. If Dwayne Morton, Whitehead’s coached turned Seton Hall assistant, doesn’t have enough basketball ability to truly be an asset to the team, he is taking up one of a possible three spots that could truly help make the entire squad better.
It was a risk that any team could have taken. Seton Hall is the team that ultimately committed to it. They don’t know how good Whitehead will be in the NCAA but they figured it was worth taking the chance. They didn’t break any rules, the just used what they had on the table to their advantage to get the player they wanted. Whether or not he was worth the risk, we will find out once Whitehead arrives to the NCAA in a year.