2014 guard Isaiah Whitehead planning official visit to Indiana

081113schLast year, Indiana got in the game late on highly-touted recruit Troy Williams and eventually got him to commit by making a strong impression on him.

It looks like Tom Crean and his staff may be doing that again.

Just over 24 hours after 2014 guard James Blackmon Jr. decommited from the Hoosiers, Indiana reached out to Brooklyn, N.Y. guard Isaiah Whitehead to take his place. Whitehead, ranked 35th in the 2014 class by ESPN.com, is just 10 spots lower than Blackmon Jr.

Whitehead attends Abraham Lincoln High School, the same school that produced NBA guards Stephon Marbury and Lance Stephenson.

Whitehead told Inside the Hall on Saturday that he hadn’t heard from Indiana until Friday night, but that it was an offer he would strongly consider. Whitehead’s conversation with Crean lasted nearly an hour, and Crean told Whitehead he knows he’s had a “big summer.”

“It means a lot,” Whitehead said. “Indiana is a legendary program with a great coach in Crean. You never can overlook them.

“They have no guard play coming in next year. That was Blackmon’s spot to play the guard spot.”

Whitehead said he plans to take an official visit to Indiana in September, along with UCLA, Syracuse, Arizona and Miami. Whitehead has not yet taken any official visits.

Whitehead hopes to finish his officials in September and October and then make his college decision in November. The early signing period begins on November 13.

“I have good interest in them,” Whitehead said of Indiana. “There’s really no top schools but I’m definitely considering them hard.”

Whitehead had a strong summer in various AAU events, and has gotten late interest from a number of schools. His assistant coach at Lincoln High, James Barrett, said getting in late won’t negatively effect Indiana.

“Isaiah just wants to go somewhere where he has a good opportunity to be a pro,” Barrett told Inside the Hall. ”There’s a lot of schools that have been contacting him late. He’s gonna go with the best opportunity to be a pro. Distance doesn’t really matter.”

Whitehead, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound combo guard, said he plans to play both guard positions at the college level.

“I’m an all around player, do everything,” Whitehead said. “I’m trying to improve my handle a little.”

Barrett sees Whitehead playing mostly point guard at the collegiate level.

“He’s more so a point guard than he is a shooting guard,” Barrett said. “He’s a point guard who can really score the ball.”

During the high school postseason, Barrett devised a game plan that required Whitehead to be more of a distributor than a passer. In that particular game, Whitehead scored only 12 points, but the team won.

“He’s willing to do whatever it takes to win,” Barrett said. “His shooting has gotten a lot better. He’s consistently hitting a jumper from NBA range. And he’s strong, he’s strong getting to the basket. That’s always been a strength of his.”

(Photo credit: Under Armour/Kelly Kline)

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    A New York kid speaking highly of us is a good thing. If we lose JBJ for good, and we end up with Whitehead I think we still end up with a player who can make an immediate impact. Go get ‘em CTC.

  • Jennifer G

    “Willing to do whatever it takes to win”
    Sounds like just the type of kid that would fit well into the Indiana system :)
    Can’t wait to find out more about him!

  • The_Bob_Michaels

    I find it interesting that his coach said getting in late wouldn’t affect his decision. It seems that a lot of times the schools who offer late end up signing. I think that is more common with the elite schools, and our presence there (at least recently) is debatable, but it’s really looking like there is no real consequence to waiting to see how a player develops before offering.

    I still believe we’ll have a very good to great 2014 class.

  • Ole Man

    We still need a shooting guard. This guy sounds like Stanford.

  • Earl Scheib

    Like his vibe. We could use some Brooklyn in Assembly Hall. (I’m a transplanted Hoosier in NYC). As for the recent situ with Blackmon Jr, I am no expert on psychology or recruiting, but here’s what I think may have been factors. Blackmon Jr. decommiting right now could be a marketing move. Commit early, lessen the inquiries from other programs and concentrate on your game for several years, decommit late, get some PR, see how badly the program you committed to really wants you, as well as other programs, etc. Factor in the alma mater factor of his father w/both Marion HS and you know who, and this smells like a cleverly engineered move. The final piece fell into place–dad getting the gig at Marion, son to play here, and um, you can do the math on the rest. This is a hunch, but it could be somewhat true. In any case, I don’t care. We will find the right players. And the wrong players, in turn, will not find us. Go Hoosiers!

  • SCHoosier

    Based on what video is available..IMO he’s a better offensive player all around that Stanford..his coach thinks he’s a “great offensive weapon.” Not gonna be many guys better outside that JBjr

  • Ole Man

    Hope you’re right. I read somewhere that he wants to focus on being a PG in college. If true, then we really need Exum!

  • dtfreed

    Suspect theory, I think he needed to sooth an under feed ego for a few months and then choose IU again. He has said as much and most decommits don’t talk about the old school for a while. And if they do its to say they are not coming, or former school is not in the mix of who they are considering. JB sr got the Marion job because Marion has s-cked for several years and they needed a home boy with some coaching cred. Marion suffered from the class system, they use to be able to go to FW semi-state without playing anyone other than 2A schools.

  • N71

    Why? We have Stan, Troy, Devin, Collin, and Austin, all wing type guards although you could argue Stan is a scoring point guard perhaps.

  • slojoe

    Blackmon, Sr. was hired 2 years ago at Marion, but he backed out for family reasons. So if you’re implying that this has something to do with getting the Marion job you’re wrong.
    But what can you tell us Whitehead and our chances of getting him away from Syracuse?

  • Ole Man

    Stan is a true combo and will spend lots of time at PG.
    Troy looks like a traditional V.O. type guard/SF.
    Devin, Collin, and Austin–hope they all develop, or even one of them!
    Would really love for Exum to come in and settle the dust stirred up by Blackmon.

  • Earl Scheib

    As I said, it’s a theory. You’re probably spot on about the ego thing, however. I find the recruit game a Byzantine chess match of dupes and counter-dupes. I have confidence Crean will play it right. Hope Blackmon becomes a Hoosier. Pls forgive my cynicism.

  • Earl Scheib

    No clue, slojoe. I only know what ITH tells me and I like to offer conjecture as any rabid Hoosier fan would! I was only connecting the dots on the father-son-alma mater matrix, that’s all.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    i have no doubt the 2014 class will be stellar, we wil have kids who WANT to be here. can’t wait for this season to start.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    JBJ’S ship has sailed. forget about him

  • TomEke

    I might have left the part out of this article about him being “10 spots lower than JBJ”, as I personally see no reason to hear about who will “replace” someone who hasn’t yet played for our team.
    You mentioned he is from Brooklyn, but I think it is more important to note the high school he attends. For anyone not familiar with Abraham Lincoln High School in New York, it has produced the likes of Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson. Though the list might be shorter than that of an Oak Hill Academy, IMHO I think it is important to note, especially because the latter of these 3, one of the most exciting players on the Pacers, was documented for having a mentor-like relationship with IW. It is a stretch to say CTC is close enough with Lance Stephenson to ask him to “promote our program”, but I see no reason why Pacers and Hoosiers can’t be friends.

  • Justin Albers

    Thanks for the comment. The point about Lincoln’s alumni was a good one, and I added that into the story.

  • semohoosier

    Not if coach talks to DWade again to help him through a bad time. I actually respect coach Crean for that just wish it would not have been when they were playing the Pacers

  • SCHoosier

    I’m sure Ron Patterson of the Orange..is tweeting Whitehead great things about the Hoosiers (not).

  • SCHoosier

    For just one year..let Exum go somewhere else..he’d just be taking court time from the development of a very good player who could help us for four years.

  • Ole Man

    IF Exum were enough to bring us a title, then I’m all for him coming for just one year.
    Also, don’t think it will happen, but what if Vonleh explodes and leads us at least to a final four, then he leaves? Would you still have the same opinion?
    I respect your thoughts on player development, but a: we have plenty of those right now; and b: we need more to win a title in today’s landscape. It will be rare that a winning team stays together, i.e. FL, two years in a row. I don’t like it any more than you do, but I’m a realist.

  • HoosierTrav

    I think he makes us instant title contenders if Vonleh decides to stay.

  • Nort1976

    I think they need to offer Bryant McIntosh from Greensburg. He’s been tearing it up this summer. Won 3A state last year. 6’3 ” can handle the ball and shoot the lights out. Dudes a Michael Menser on steroids!

  • Ole Man

    Totally agree. Let’s cross our fingers. Both on Vonleh and on Exum getting off the stick and making a commitment one way or another.
    Do you think CTC might be putting some pressure on Exum to move up his commitment date by recruiting some of these other guards?

  • SCHoosier

    I’ve just felt that IU is still a little young for Exum to have a final Four impact..we certainly could challenge for a conference title..maybe eve without him.

  • Hammer

    Whitehead will accept and Blackmon will wish he would not have said anything!

  • Ole Man

    Every kid who signs with us “wants” to be here.

    Then some, for whatever reason change their minds (i.e. Remy).
    Some want to be here then change their minds and decommit.
    Some want to be here and our “pursuit” or interest dwindles.

    Don’t take this personally.
    If I had a dollar for every time someone has posted this “reasoning”, I could take one heck of a vacation.

    A kid deciding he does not want Indiana, does not, in my humble opinion, demean or lessen the kid. But that is what is implied when posters make that statement.

  • metalhead65

    I really hopes he chooses IU so they can tell blackman the offer is officially no longer on the table. I hope crean stops offering 14 year old scholarships after this debacle. he should recruit them but do waste a offer on someone who could change his mind after they have moved on from recruiting his position. I hope this kid is serious and not just saying the right thing, I am not sure I would want to be looked at as somebody’s second choice if I were him.

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