After a conversation with Seton Hall-bound shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead at the City of Palms Classic, his Brooklyn Lincoln teammate Desi Rodriguez decided Seton Hall was the place for him, too.
“Me and Isaiah had a talk,” the 6-foot-6 Rodriguez told SNY.tv by phone from Florida. “We play together well and we felt like we should follow each other to college.
“I made a decision and I think it was the best opportunity.”
Rodriguez joins a 2014 class that includes Whitehead, Bishop Loughlin shooting guard Khadeen Carrington, Newark East Side wing Ismael Sanogo and The Patrick School power forward Angelo Delgado, who recently enrolled there after leaving Huntington (W.V.) Prep.
Whiteheadpicked the Pirates this fall over St. John’s, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Indiana.
Rodriguez, who considered reclassifying to 2015 from 2014, had interest from Penn State and Duquesne, among others. He committed after Seton Hall assistant Freddie Hill watched him for several days at City of Palms.
Rodriguez went for 26 points and nine rebounds as Lincoln cruised to an 80-67 win over Greenforest Christian (Ga.) on Thursday.
“He averaged like 20 and 10 down here,” Lincoln coach Tiny Morton told SNY.tv. “He was like a monster down here against top competition.
“I think his recruitment is about to go through the roof after this tournament. He just felt that he was ready for Seton Hall.”
Morton said Seton Hall had been pursuing Rodriguez but the coach wanted to see how he did against elite competition at this event.
“Desi Rodriguez is a matchup nightmare,” longtime New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski told SNY.tv. “He was a power forward a year ago, but he was a lot thicker a year ago. He’s lost weight, he’s more athletic. He’s quicker and more active now. He can occasionally hit a 3 outside, he can drive the ball along the baseline to the basket. But he’s still strong enough to post up and score inside. He’s a very difficult matchup.
“He poses matchup problems. You put a quick guy on him and he’ll take him inside and play him physically. You put a bigger guy on him and he’ll go around him. He’s a guy who plays with a lot of energy.”
Now Seton Hall is getting two Lincoln teammates who have a strong bond.
“They got a chemistry off the court,” Morton said of Whitehead and Rodriguez. “It’s kind of unbelievable to have two guys blend so well.
Morton may end up joining the Seton Hall staff in 2014, but adjustments would have to be made for him to join the staff.
“If something happens I’ll make a move,” Morton said.
“I’m so happy for the kids. These kids really deserve it.”
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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.