PHILADELPHIA — Isaiah Whitehead knows that his shooting stroke was once one of the weaknesses of his game.
So he worked on it, and worked on it, and worked some more.
By the looks of things, his work paid off.
The 6-foot-5 2014 Brooklyn Lincoln guard drained seven 3-pointers en route to 27 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists and team MVP honors as Team Bravery lost to Team Inspiration, 119-114, in the Mary Kline Underclassmen Game at Philadelphia University.
“I heard about the knock on my shooting so I just been in the gym working on it, working on it, working on it, and now I finally got the technique down pat, and now it’s going in,” Whitehead said.
As for recruiting, Whitehead listed Louisville, Syracuse, Minnesota, UCLA and St. John’s among his top schools.
“I’ll probably visit Louisville, back to Syracuse, Minnesota, I want to go out there and see what [Richard] Pitino got,” Whitehead said.
Whitehead and 2014 point guard Ja’Quan Newton both mentioned Minnesota, which is now getting much more heavily involved with East Coast players under Pitino and assistants Dan McHale and Kimani Young.
“[Minnesota said] that instead of going into a big program, you still have the spotlight there in Minnesota, but it’s like kind of shying away from the spotlight [in New York],” he said. “He came at me with a great recruitment.”
As for Louisville, the defending national champs are coached by Rick Pitino, Richard’s father.
“They’re run-and-gun, you gotta guard your man of course,” he said. “Pitino’s not gonna have it. You gotta play defense. It’s just basically a great program. They just won a national championship so you can’t look them over.”
Syracuse has long been in the mix for Whitehead.
“They’re probably if not the highest, the second-highest out of them and Louisville right now because the coaches are non-stop talking to my mom, my coach, they texting me,” Whitehead said. “So there’s a lot going on.”
St. John’s is the hometown school.
“[Steve] Lavin texts me every day basically, to see how my day’s going,” he said. “He texted me about my prom that I had a couple weeks ago.”
In March, Whitehead had 12 points to lead Lincoln to the PSAL “AA” title over Thomas Jefferson.
Now, he says he’ll be more relaxed as a senior.
“I think I’ve outgrown the pressure now,” he said. “I came into high school going to Lincoln, you have to win a championship. I think I got that off my back now, so next year I’m just going trying to win another one so there’s really no more pressure for me.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.