Isaiah Whitehead pushes back NBA Draft decision date

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Unfortunately for Seton Hall fans, the nail-biting will continue.

Isaiah Whitehead has rescheduled the day he will announce his decision about staying in the 2016 NBA Draft from tomorrow to May 24th (or perhaps the 25th), the day before underclassmen must remove their names from consideration.

Whitehead’s choice to push back what may be the biggest moment of his life is understandable and comes on the heels of picking up a groin injury during his Monday workout with the Philadelphia 76ers that sidelined him for a session with the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

Some sources indicate that Isaiah performed well for the Sixers while others say he struggled.

I’ve also heard positive things regarding an encore season, though anyone claiming an absolute decision at this point is incorrect.

Regardless of the uncertainty about what Whitehead will do, it seems pretty clear to me that the ‘Depart-o-Meter’ has leaned in favor of Seton Hall fans over the past few days.

Whitehead didn’t follow up on early success at the NBA Draft Combine, likely did not ‘Wow’ Sixers scouts and picked up an injury in the process.

Barring something unforeseen, the 100-percent gone if a first-round lock condition is a stretch, leaving the waters a bit choppier for Seton Hall’s star.

  • Joe Schmoe

    I wouldn’t call it nail biting at this juncture. The best decision would be to come back to south orange. He knew he had to impress at the pro workouts. He gave it 110% and hurt himself. I would love to see him in the NBA, he’s just not ready.

    • So the difference between SH being a top-20 team vs. perhaps bubble is not nail-biting? I disagree :)

    • ThePirateFan

      Haha, seems you’re a SHU fan that doesn’t get rattled by anything! And I thought I was on the more relaxed side!

  • Coach Mike

    Maybe its an omen….

    • Joe Schmoe

      Or the decision was made, and he’s going to “stay in” until he has to remove himself. I’m more interested to know who’s going to walk the plank.

      • Fishjam

        If Isaiah comes back we are 1 over. If Isaiah comes back and Thompson commits we are 2 over. The situations of Braden Anderson, Soffer, JT and Madison Jones will most likely be affected depending on IW and TT’s decisions. The staff is prepared for all possibilities. So many moving parts….all of the dominos will fall after Z’s choice is made.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Adam Zagoria went from citing “sources” telling SNY that whitehead was gone. Now hes saying its “likely” he’ll return to Seton Hall. That guy has no cred.

    • Probably jumped the gun with one source so that he could get traffic. I knew for a fact no decision was made when that original report came out.

  • VinBick

    Let’s ask the experts here. Should IW stay or should he go? Hope the loyal fans and our main man, Chris, chime in here with their thoughts on what Whitehead should do.

    • Joe Schmoe

      – He received an invite to and experienced the Combine
      – He received pro-interviews, and secured pro-workouts.

      ALL an honor to experience and go through that process. You have to love this kid. His drive, work ethic, ambition..

      So the choice:
      1) He stays in the draft. Best case he gets drafted mid/late second round and is relegated to the D league. A higher chance that he goes undrafted and a team then signs him to a D-league contract or he’s playing Euro-Ball until he (hopefully) is NBA ready.

      2) He returns to South Orange. Upon Whitehead’s return, SHU is a preseason top-15 team. UR 30+ games are going to be televised. Ur making national noise. You rally the team around you and lead SHU back to the final 4. You have increased cred and can approach next years combine/process with increased confidence.

      Either road leads you to the NBA IF ur NBA caliber. Another year in South Orange will do it with more exposure. Look what happened to Aquille Carr when he thought he was too “pro” for college ball.

      • VinBick

        Hope Whitehead reads your post. My analogy is him swimming comfortably in a very nice pool for another year, or jumping into an ocean called pro basketball with limited swimming ability.

        If he was not stellar performing in a workout with the 76er’s-the worst team in the NBA-what are his chances of making any team?

        • ThePirateFan

          If he plays a year of pro ball he’ll be a better player going into year 2 than if he stays and plays college for another year. In that respect playing in the NBA sooner = better. The difference is the first contract he signs. Improving draft position improves the first contract.

          Plus, with all the BET title under his belt and all this NBA stuff going through his head, is he going to have the same hunger if he stays?

      • shufaninva

        The Crimestopper!!!!!

      • Two things:

        – Not sure mid/late-second round is best-case. He has probably slipped down a few spots from the late first/early second that had been previously reported.

        – Carr did wind up choosing pro ball over college, but only because he wasn’t going to qualify; so it was JuCo vs. pro

        • Joe Schmoe

          I have not heard or read any reports that had Whitehead as a late first/early second draft pick. Best case mock draft I saw was Draft express had him at taken 3rd to last in the 2nd round. Who said he was a late 1st round pick?

          • Mock drafts are completely off. At least a couple NBA scouts/execs were saying something in the 30-45 range (IIRC). If you would like me to dig up the reports/tweets I will, but I thought that was well-established

          • Fishjam

            I don’t trust any of the Mock Drafts. I’ve seen/heard everything from 20-30 to not drafted. Fran Frischilla says he’s 20-30, Jon Rothstein says late 1st round, Jay Bilas had him #43, Bleacher Report had him #29, Draft Express had him #58….who knows?

      • ThePirateFan

        You’re right that either road leads to the NBA if he’s NBA caliber. The difference is the first contract, which means we’re talking about LARGE differences in income, particularly if he doesn’t end up sticking around in the NBA very long.

        A surefire lottery pick can be pretty confident he’ll be in the league in 5 years and will be pretty confident in getting a second contract. A 2nd rounder may end up in Europe or the D-league so maximizing that first contract is crazy important.

    • It depends what the ultimate goal/outcome is. Without that set in stone, it’s hard to stay. If he only wants to go if he is guaranteed first round — obviously should stay.

      If he wants to settle for some non-guaranteed money and roll the dice, then I would feel confident in certainly being drafted, but likely early/mid second round.

      My opinion is the first scenario makes more sense and is safer.

    • Andrew Herbst

      I think he should stay another year. We are a top 20 team and are favorites to win BE Championship game. We could be a final four team. If he comes back and has a monster year, he might be a lottery pick.

      • Even with IW back, I doubt Vegas will have Seton Hall as pre-season BE favorites

        • Andrew Herbst

          Probably. They’ll have Nova favored most likely.

        • Fishjam

          True, even with IW back we may still be looking at 3rd preseason. Nova and Xavier still both look like Top 10 teams….with Isaiah I’d say we are around 15-20. Big East is going to be tough again next year. Creighton looks like a Top 25 team, Butler and Georgetown both have their entire talented/experienced front courts back so have potential, Marquette keeps getting big recruiting classes and The Johnnies will also be much better adding 4 really good players to go with their athletic shot-blockers.

  • Fishjam

    Vin, my opinion is he should stay in school. He’ll be so much more prepared for the NBA with another year to mature as a person and a player. At worse, he doesn’t improve (unlikely) and he will have to battle for a spot on a team the same as he will this year.

    Also, the college experience is priceless. How many adults look back at their lives and say, “damn, if I could change anything I would have tried to leave college early.” College is a dream-world and next year SHU can be a Top 20 team all season and have a chance to do big things. Wouldn’t you rather work on your game in that atmosphere over making $20,000 playing in the D-League?

    • VinBick

      Fish, your perception is most helpful to any young person making significant choices regarding one’s future. Patience, overcoming weaknesses, and honing one’s strengths at the college level will garner greater respect by the professional teams.

      Isaiah has so much, God-given talent. He has stated in various interviews, that he dreams of playing in the NBA as his key goal in life. His wise choice is to further develop his skills with another year at the Hall. The national exposure playing for a top 20-ranked college team will mean far more in building his resume for pro teams to review. He is not a polished, NBA -star prospect presently.

      • LBP

        Fish and VinBick- another year would put pressure on Knicks; 6ers; Nets et. al to get the local hero in a Uni

  • fouline

    The problems for him coming back have been covered: injury and no real improvement over last year. And Personally, I believe Willard is more of an enabler rather than a teacher. He just let him take over the team. So what will be different for him next year? WIll the team be better? What will he learn? What does he need to learn? And can he get it at in school? Nobody knows. Damn… what a complicated situation.

    • Joe Schmoe

      That’s a tad on the harsh side….

      • fouline

        I didn’t even mention money as a factor. It’s very cold out there. And if he does come back, we have to understand how tough it was to walk up to the finish line and turn around.

        • ThePirateFan

          Yea, that would be tough for him I’d imagine, to be so close just to turn around and play at an empty prudential center again. He’s not above it as we’ve all seen his struggles and successes, but to be so close to the dream could be disheartening.

    • Are you saying a projected junior year won’t yield any significant improvement from IW? Or are you comparing freshman to sophomore year?

      I get your enabler point and there is some truth to that, but KW didn’t have any back-up options at PG this past season and rolling with his alpha dog paid dividends and then some…

      Yes, the team will be better. How could it not, barring some sort of behind the scenes distraction. They only lose DG, but gain a full year of experience and perhaps 2 or 3 key pieces via the 2016 class, not to mention a backup PG in December.

      • fouline

        There are no guarantees in sports. Sometimes… teams hit a wall or sometimes an individual doesn’t improve past a certain point. Sports fields are the graveyard of potential. On paper our team might look better but there’s no saying it will play better. We have to wait and see.

        • Joe Schmoe

          ’00-’01 season…..

          • hallstorm

            I kinda think the ’00-01 season was much like our last season split in two (first half of season vs. second half of season). That ’00-01 season had the same issues: players who played a lot the season before (and who helped make a 16 run with Shine, Lane and Dalembert) vs. the star incoming class. This current team is the same team as last year that’s returning nearly everyone. I’m not saying that makes it flawless, but it’s a completely different situation.

            I remember the Ty Shine and Eddie Griffin fist fights.

          • Jersey Jerry

            I was @ NOVA when that fight happened at half-time … Father came out of locker room and told me in his 15+ years he had NEVER seen a half-time like that one.

    • Fishjam

      He needs to work on his decision-making first and foremost and of course he is capable of improving. Think how much he’s improved at Seton Hall already. Not too long ago many fans and people in these comments were killing Isaiah and questioning what people saw in him and if he’d ever be NBA material.

      Isaiah made tremendous strides from his freshman year until the end of this year. Heck, he made tremendous strides from Decmber to February and March! Willard and Sha get a huge amount of credit for that in my book.

    • hallstorm

      I disagree with this. I am not saying Williard is the best teacher there is, but how many college coaches are the best teachers? I was a huge Williard basher until he decided to play some defense this year-and that was the biggest difference in the season (I think even bigger than Gordon coming and even bigger than a year’s maturity for the starting five).

      The ability to play with a target on your back all season is a big learning curve. A second huge advantage to this year is making your teammates better. The second one is pretty big because it actually creates a huge interest by NBA teams-stats are not the measuring stick NBA teams use to determine value. Yet another pretty big ability he needs to develop-one that everyone on this forum speaks about and one that NBA execs speak about-is his decision making. This is about not just turnovers, but setting the pace, actually creating better looks for teammates, knowing when to push the ball and when to slow down, getting better shots (especially when his final game consisted of a shooting line that read 4-24) and having more consistency year-long.

      Remember-his freshman year was interrupted by an injury and there was a lot of dissension on the team, so this past year really was a freshman+ kind of year. I think we all forget that on this forum. Yes, he’s 21, but he’s a young 21 in terms of college experience.

      • fouline

        Willard doesn’t have to be the best coach, he just has to offer IW what he needs to improve. It’s up to IW to figure out what he needs and where he can get it. Personally I would come back and hire a personal NBA trainer.

    • Matt

      Nonsense….the job is to recruit. And yes the team will be better. What kind of question is that?

      • fouline

        Nonsense? We have to remember that we were pick what? 7th, 8th in the league and we end up winning it all. Even Vegas missed us!


    Chicago has the 14th and 48th picks, so not sure what to make of this. IW definitely not going 14th

  • iratepirate

    Hope he comes back. I can’t believe there are people in the comments doubting next year. Unless one of the other intricate parts of the team transfers (Delgado, for example), this team is poised to do damage. As long as Gordon or Powell can step in for a combined 10-15 minutes at the 1 and 2, and the other pieces are place, we are deep and dangerous. Look forward to being ranked and taking down the big boys.

    This is all if Whitehead stays. If he goes I see big big question marks for next year. Guard depth and experience on the court becomes a huge problem.

  • Fishjam

    The article Chris posted on twitter mentions that Whitehead has recently started talking to Kris Dunn about his decision last year. It links to an article about Dunn and his decision. I never knew it but Dunn had a brutal childhood and had every reason to take the money but he stayed despite being more highly regarded last year than Isaiah is this year.

    This is a good read, hope isaiah and Ms Rambert are taking his advice

    • Thanks for sharing it here. I actually haven’t read yet, but I trusted the source and was very IW-related

  • Joe Schmoe

    So he didn’t work out with the bulls….did he workout with any other team other than the sixers?

  • Jersey Jerry
  • Andrew Herbst

    I’m having bad vibes Isaish is going pro. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    • hallstorm

      I’m having the same thoughts. He scheduled a workout with Indiana next Thursday, June 2. If that is accurate, it can only mean he intends to stay in the draft

      • Does not look good at all

      • Andrew Herbst

        Unfortunately that means in all likelihood he won’t be coming out of draft.

  • fouline

    As much as I would like him to come back… For his own peace of mind, he has to stay in until he has no other option – the NBA or SHU.

  • Joe Schmoe
  • 11yearplan

    Selfishly I hope he returns for an All-American year but, that is not going to happen. Whatever he does he always seems to raise his game up to the challenge. He turned our program around in 2 seasons. I believe he will do well in the NBA. All the best Isaiah. You will always be a great Pirate.

  • hallstorm