Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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In what must be considered a stunning development, Isaiah Whitehead will announce his college choice this Thursday.
“I Will Be Choosing Between St. John’s, Seton Hall, Pitt, Minnesota and Indiana Thursday At My High School At 2:30,” Whitehead Tweeted.
Syracuse, Arizona, UCLA and Louisville had also been involved at various times, but are now out. SNY.tv reported over the summer that there was no longer mutual interest with Syracuse, and The Post-Standard confirmed that with this story.
Brooklyn Lincoln AD Renan Ebeid sent a text message saying there would be a press conference Thursday at 2:30 in which “our very own Isaiah Whitehead makes his official announcement on what his future plans are.”
The 6-foot-4 Whitehead has kept his recruiting cards very close to the vest in this process.
He visited Seton Hall unofficially on Saturday and recently took an unofficial to Indiana. He is due to visit St. John’s on Wednesday, one day before his announcement. He has not visited Pitt or Minnesota.
James Barrett, Whitehead’s AAU coach and an assistant at Lincoln, said Wednesday’s visit will be key.
“It’s going to be important because it’s going to be kind of like his last impression of a school before he makes his decision,” Barrett said of St. John’s.
He added: “Coach [Steve] Lavin, he’s done pretty well at St. John’s since he’s been there, especially like his first year he had Moe Harkless, who was an NBA pro. St. John’s has had a rich history of guards out of New York City.”
St. John’s also offers the appeal of staying home in New York and playing at Madison Square Garden.
Asked if that appealed to Whitehead, Barrett said, “Oh yes, definitely, especially for his mom to be able to come to all the home games and playing in Madison Square Garden.”
Seton Hall is also a local option, although it’s obviously not New York.
“Seton Hall’s good also,” Barrett said. “Seton Hall’s definitely good also. That’s another school that’s close to home. They just got the big kid, Angel Delgado, and Khadeen Carrington, so that’s definitely an option that would be on the list.”
Pitt, meantime, has a long tradition of bringing in players from New York City under coach Jamie Dixon and assistant Barry Rohrssen.
“Pitt is a great place also,” he said. “He’s had success with a lot of New York guards. They win 26 games a season.”
Indiana is another legendary program.
“Coach Crean has had Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo, so those are two guards the same size as Isaiah so that would be a great coach also,” Barrett said.
Whitehead has never visited Minnesota, but Barrett said they remain in the mix after an in-home visit last week.
“With them having Kimani [Young], Kimani has a relationship with all of us and Isaiah also,” Barrett said. “You don’t even need to visit because he has a relationship with all of those guys.”
Asked if Whitehead would make his decision Wednesday night, Barrett said, “No, he’s going to make his decision on Thursday. He’s going to make his decision when he’s sitting up there on that podium.”
Wherever he lands, that school will be getting a likely future McDonald’s All-American and the latest in the Lincoln line of guards that featured Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson.
“I think he’s one of the top five guards in the nation,” longtime New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski told SNY.tv. “I really think he’s had a very good summer. He’s improved tremendously.”
Barrett added: “He’s a hard-working player. He’s going to work hard on both ends of the floor. Wherever he goes, he’s going to be able to score points and make other people better.”
Photo: Kelly Kline / UA
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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.