It all comes down to tomorrow for Isaiah Whitehead and Seton Hall.
Whitehead will make his decision on whether or not to stay in the NBA draft or come back to school sometime on Thursday. He said as recently as Monday that he is still unsure about his future following a workout with the Philadelphia 76ers.
So, what is Whitehead going to do?
If he chooses to come back to South Orange and put on the blue and white for one more year, Seton Hall fans everywhere will be jumping in jubilation and donning their unofficial Whitehead throwback jerseys for weeks to come.
At Seton Hall, Whitehead would come back to familiarity, going back to a starting lineup of juniors who won a Big East Championship together last year. The only player the team will be losing is Derrick Gordon, but the Hall will add backcourt depth in sharp-shooter Myles Powell and combo guard Eron Gordon.
If Whitehead decides to stay in the draft, he will hire an agent and test the waters. Seton Hall will lose him permanently and will have to start planning for life without their star.
Whitehead said at the NBA Combine that he would “100 percent” declare for the draft if he was guaranteed to be a first-round pick, according to SNY’s Adam Zagoria. Still, Whitehead has shown recently that he will pull the trigger to stay in the draft if he has any spot at all, as he said later in the Combine interview that his goal is to “just solidify a spot,” per SNY.
Some college basketball experts, including ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, believe that Whitehead increased his draft stock with his play at the combine. Mock drafts do not seem to agree, as DraftExpress projects the 21-year-old point guard to be the 58th pick, while NBADraft.net does not even have him listed on their mock board.
On Monday night, Whitehead tweeted the word “Hall” before following up and deleting the tweet. Of course it could have been a typo, but it does set the imagination ablaze: What if Whitehead does return to Seton Hall after all the hype?
All the ingredients are there for something special. Seton Hall would be contenders from the start – a preseason Top-25 team – with Whitehead back. After Seton Hall winning the Big East Championship in 2016 in dramatic fashion over the National Champion Villanova Wildcats, there is nothing stopping the Pirates from doing it again.
The team also has a NCAA game under its belt now. Even though it was a loss, that experience can prove invaluable if SHU pulls off another run to the tournament.
Man, can next year be special.
It all hinges on Whitehead. A special passer, he is the facilitator of the offense. If he leaves, Seton Hall will have to get creative with either Khadeen Carrington or Eron Gordon at point guard.
It all comes down to Thursday. That will be when Whitehead makes the final call. Will he pull off the unexpected and make a run back to South Orange, or will he grasp the opportunity in the big leagues and leave the Pirates in the dust?
When Eron Gordon committed to Seton Hall on Monday, Whitehead tweeted, “Officially Family.”
Now, Seton Hall fans can only hope Whitehead does not break the family up.
Elizabeth Swinton can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @eswint22.