Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Whitehead To Decide Tomorrow, Jets Outlast Thurgood Marshall

Lance Stephenson was supposed to alter the perception of a then-ailing St. John’s program.

The 6-foot-6 man-child was supposed to bring back a prosperous Johnnies era, when Chris Mullin shot the Garden into a power outage and Walter “The Truth” Berry scored at will.

Then, word spread around the blazing Coney Island beach fire at a furious pace.

Stephenson was supposedly headed for Kansas.

 The plot flipped, and sources indicated Stephenson was Florida International-bound.

At the time, Isaiah Thomas was regenerating a coaching career that faltered in New York City. Scouring the land for a dynamite recruiting class was the first priority.
Stephenson, a prodigious schoolboy talent who evolved into New York’s all-time scoring leader at fabled Lincoln High, ended up at Cincinnati in an eleventh hour decision.

Isaiah Whitehead, one of the nation’s hotly pursued recruits, will decide tomorrow.

Slightly smaller and a tad less explosive than Stephenson, Whitehead is the latest in a lineage of Railsplitter guards. That list includes Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair.

Like Stephenson, Whitehead plays with the savvy emblematic of a New York City guard. Molded by Dwayne “Tiny” Morton, Whitehead, Whitehead’s steady mid-range game, outside shooting, and nose for hitting the open man strengthens his overall package.

Harkening back on it, few recruiting sagas played out like Stephenson’s. Now with the Indiana Pacers, Stephenson bolted for Bearcat Country, ducking the long arm of the NCAA clearinghouse in the process.

Eligibility concerns, a run-in with the law, and controversial mayhem backed away many potential suitors. While so many self-anointed gurus, scouts and scribes bared Stephenson’s perceived attitude issues, the current Indiana Pacer has avoided the drama that once enveloped his illustrious prep career at Lincoln.

Whitehead’s ascension has been entirely different. There is no wild, never-ending recruiting phase. There is no overhyped, overanalyzed, and recycled stories flaring up.

Nothing of the sort.

 This book is a much simpler read; a basketball hooked on phonics in comparison to the Stephenson narrative.

Whitehead is a multi-faceted homegrown talent; a combination guard possessing more sheer scoring ability than Stephenson, Marbury, and Telfair did.

He could be headed to Seton Hall. He could be headed to Indiana. That is one very big could.  Whitehead's knack for drilling difficult, contested pressure shots has bolstered his stock.

Yesterday’s got nothing for me. Tomorrow will usher in a new era.

I’ve been screaming at the mountaintops, at lungs-burning levels about Brooklyn Law and Tech's promise.  If they continue to play at this pace, my words (screams) might prove prophetic.

The Jets gutted out a 53-52 win over Thurgood Marshall in the True Ballaz Classic, applying suffocating fourth quarter defense.

The Jets nearly crumbled under the weight of Marshall’s Dimencio Vaughn in the third quarter. Vaughn, a 6-foot-3 guard recently targeted by Hofstra, willed Marshall with his scoring.

In the fourth, however, the Jets' defense induced a severe power outage.

 Juan Ramos scored the go-ahead bucket, converting a steal into a fast break with 25 seconds remaining.  The Jets spent the entire fourth whittling away at a seven-point deficit.

Matt Scott, who erupted for 32 points in Law and Tech's 67-41 resume win over Thomas Jefferson this summer, was again the catalyst.

 A 6-foot-3 guard, Scott poured in 24 points on a full stash of 3-pointers, slashes, pull-up jumpers, and a newly unveiled fade-away.

As effective as Scott was, he clearly wasn’t alone.

Ramos, a pure shooter and seasoned senior guard, added 13. Senior Brandon House was workmanlike, contributing seven points, eight boards, and seven assists.

The Jets also received production from Zephrinus Hippolyte, a sophomore now flushed into a prominent role. Hippolyte, starting alongside a quartet of seniors, chimed in with seven points.

Brooklyn Law and Tech isn’t the same brand name as neighboring foes.

Scott, as humble off the court as he is versatile on it (capable of playing all five positions), said the Jets embrace the unsung status.

Flying under the radar in Class A, Law and Tech has shown glimpses.

An American Point Guard In China: White Plains native Dave Boykin, a 6-foot-3 guard out of Bridgeport, is prolonging an unpredictable career on foreign soil in China. Boykin, who starred under Spencer Mayfield at White Plains, has penned a contract with the Jiangsu Lions.

The professional route is being pursued by several former Tigers. Expect more of the same. NBA prospect Sean Kilpatrick, a 6-foot-4 guard with range, returned for his senior year at Cincinnati. Kilpatrick has the strength and scoring aptitude to play at the NBA level. Though marred by bouts of streakiness, Kilpatrick has the potential to take over when toting the hot hand. A final year of college should help shape Kilpatrick's pro future. Kilpatrick--who became more of a playmaker following a post-graduate year at Notre Dame Prep--should discover that future in the colossal arenas of the NBA.

Ra’Shad “Birdman” James, a high-rising 6-foot guard who capped a well-traveled NCAA career at Northwood University in Florida, is gaining more and more interest after various NBA tryouts in June.