Thursday, June 23, 2016

Isaiah Whitehead drafted in second round, traded to Nets

Brooklyn native Isaiah Whitehead will not have to travel far to begin NBA career, as Seton Hall guard was acquired by Brooklyn Nets after being selected 42nd overall by Utah in NBA Draft. (Photo by Seton Hall University Athletics)

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn's native son is staying home.

Isaiah Whitehead, the Coney Island native who bet on himself after two seasons in which he resurrected Seton Hall basketball and brought the Pirates to their first NCAA Tournament since 2006, was acquired by his hometown Brooklyn Nets during Thursday night's NBA Draft.

"It's a dream come true," he gushed when meeting the media for the first time as a professional. "Since Brooklyn got here, I always wanted to play for them."

Whitehead was officially selected by the Utah Jazz in the second round with the No. 42 overall pick, but his rights will be traded to the Nets in exchange for the No. 55 overall pick; which turned out to be North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige, and cash considerations. He is the first Seton Hall player drafted since 2001, when Eddie Griffin and Samuel Dalembert went at No. 7 and No. 26 overall, respectively, and is the first New Jersey college player drafted since Rutgers' Hamady Ndiaye was a second-round choice in 2010.

"There's no pressure," Whitehead told SNY's Adam Zagoria moments after being selected. "It's just basketball. I'm just going to try to take it by storm."

When addressing his second-round draft status, the fearless floor general was brutally honest when revealing that he will play with a chip on his shoulder.

"I always dreamed about being a first-round pick," Whitehead said, "so it's definitely motivation."

In his sophomore season, Whitehead garnered first team all-Big East honors as he led Seton Hall to its first conference championship since 1993, averaging 18.2 points and 5.1 assists per game for the Pirates, while also shooting 37 percent from three-point range. He also captured the MBWA Haggerty Award, given to the best player in the New York metropolitan area, the first Seton Hall honoree since the award was bestowed upon Adrian Griffin in 1996. However, skepticism was still prevalent over his decision to leave South Orange halfway through a career that seemed to be blossoming into one of the finest in program history.

"Once you make a decision like that, there's no looking back," he declared. "I can't go back and say, 'I should have done this, I should have done that.' It's done. I said, 'hey, if I get picked, I'm blessed.'"

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