Today in the Mid-Day Rumble, Isaiah Whitehead has Seton Hall fans holding their breath, former Ohio State center Daniel Giddens is transferring to Alabama, and John Calipari says he plans to remain in Lexington for the rest of his career.
To stay or to go pro?
Isaiah Whitehead had a rough freshman campaign at Seton Hall, but in year two the guard was the 'alpha dog', leading the Pirates to a Big East Tournament title and the program's first NCAA Tournament berth since 2006. Whitehead took advantage of his breakout season by entering his name into the NBA Draft pool (without an agent) and by participating in the NBA Combine last week.
Whitehead announced yesterday that he will make a decision on his future on Thursday.
Will Make An Decision On The 19th Whether Or Not To Stay In The Draft— Isaiah Whitehead (@IsaiahW_15) May 15, 2016
This decision will have a major impact on the Pirates 2016-17 season. With Whitehead, they are expected to be a top 25 team and one of the top units in the Big East. Without the Brooklyn native, Seton Hall will still be a factor in league play, but they won't have a player that can take them to the next level.
Another critical Big East decision will come from Providence forward Ben Bentil. Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal is reporting that Bentil is "leaning heavily toward leaving PC and casting his lot in June's NBA Draft." The Friars could lose their two leading scorers from last year's team that beat USC in the first round of the Big Dance.
Maryland point guard Melo Trimble did not have a promising performance at the NBA Combine last week, but the sophomore told CSN Mid-Atlantic that he is still leaning towards staying in the NBA Draft. Regardless of Trimble's decision, Maryland will be in a rebuilding mode in the Big Ten next year.
Cheick Diallo barely got off the bench at Kansas and was often lost on both ends of the floor when he entered the game. After an impressive two days at the Combine in Chicago, Diallo has hired an agent and remains committed to making the NBA. The former five-star recruit and St. John's target was all over the place, showing off his motor, length and potential to NBA scouts, executives and coaches.
New faces in new places
A former four-star center from Georgia, Daniel Giddens, was looking to transfer from Ohio State to a University closer to home. The big man, who averaged 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game last season, committed to Avery Johnson and the Alabama Crimson Tide on Sunday.
Giddens is a physical big man who is very active on the glass, can guard two positions and is capable of making plays on both ends of the floor. The 6'10" center will sit one and play three.
Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu finally found a home after being restricted by the Cougars. Izundu will play for Steve Fisher and the San Diego State Aztecs in his final season of eligibility.
The Wildcats have made some headlines over the past week or so, starting with head coach John Calipari. Cal seemed to bash Duke's recruiting tactics last Tuesday and then spoke on Monday, saying he plans to coach at Kentucky for the rest of his career.
Point guard Tyler Ulis, who has hired an agent and will not return to Kentucky, talked about his lack of size last week. Ulis claims he would be a must-have prospect and would be selected in the lottery if he was taller.
"I feel like if I was 6-1, 6-2 I'd be No. 1 or No. 2," Ulis said. "But I'm not 6-1, 6-2. I'm 5-9. I got what I have, I love it, I feel like I've worked for what I got. I'm just going to keep playing."
This is what Calipari wants. He wants his program to stay in the headlines even when they aren't playing. And it's a smart tactic.
Remember when he announced in the middle of the NCAA Tournament that all his players - even the walk-ons - would enter their name in the NBA Draft? Yeah, that wasn't a coincidence.