Unranked by all the recruiting services his senior year at Lexington (Ky.) Catholic High School, Jack Whitman has yet to make a name for himself on the college level through three seasons at William & Mary.
“He’s like a hidden talent in a way,” William & Mary senior guard Daniel Dixon said of the 6-foot-9, 235-pound Whitman, who on Tuesday announced plans to play his final season as a graduate transfer at Kansas.
“He was hurt a lot early in his career. Last year was a taste of what he can do. I don’t think many people realize how good he really is,” Dixon added Wednesday in a phone interview.
A regular starter, Whitman averaged 10.3 points and 5.4 rebounds a game his redshirt junior season at the Williamsburg, Va., school. He had averaged just 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds his freshman season and 3.3 points and 2.7 boards his sophomore campaign.
Whitman hit 66 percent of his floor shots, just 59.7 percent of his free throws last season for the (17-14) Tribe.
“I couldn’t tell you how many connections we had this year. I always found him in the right spots. He was always in the right spots,” Dixon said. “He’s athletic, has a good post game, a good feel for the game, has good hands. It was great being able to throw the ball at the rim and him being able to dunk it. I think he will be in a lot of highlight plays at Kansas.”
Whitman may have assured himself a scholarship offer at a major college — he also heard from North Carolina, Clemson, George Washington and others — by scoring 13 points on 4-of-4 shooting (5 of 6 from line) and grabbing four rebounds while playing 16 minutes in an 88-67 loss to Duke on Nov. 23 in Durham, N.C.
“There was the Duke game, but he had a lot of memorable plays stick out (through the season),” Dixon said. “We played Hofstra at home … he came down the lane and left from close to the free-throw line (to dunk). It was pretty crazy.
“He was going to give us his energy every night. I loved being his teammate. I knew he’d give you everything he has every night.”
Dixon — he was Whitman’s roommate two seasons ago — said the Lexington, Ky., native is intent on making an impact in his one season at KU.
“I don’t know what else you can ask, to get a player a year who will go in and work his butt off, be low maintenance, not do anything crazy, be very focused,” Dixon said. “He believes he can play at that level. I think he wants to make an immediate impact and will.”
Dixon — he figures to play ball professionally somewhere next season after averaging 19.2 points and 4.7 boards a game at the Colonial Athletic Association school — said he’s thrilled Whitman can showcase his own skills and advance his chances to play ball for a living.
“I was super happy for him. I really wanted the best for him. He’s one of my best friends at this school,” Dixon said. “He told me he wanted to play at the highest level possible and he gets the opportunity. It (KU offer) didn’t surprise me at all. I know how good he is. He has a little more in the tank for sure.”
Whitman first heard from KU’s coaches on Friday and accepted a scholarship offer Tuesday.
“He’s definitely excited. It was a quick decision but not much of a hesitation,” Dixon said. “After talking to his family he decided Kansas was best for him. He’s excited for summer and to get the ball rolling.”
There’s a good chance Whitman will bring his golf clubs with him to KU.
“He has a really good drive but I think his short game is pretty bad, that’s what I heard,” Dixon said with a laugh. “He’s pretty quiet, pretty to himself, not extremely loud, but he’s very funny. He’s not going to be out there telling jokes, but some of the things he says are really funny.”
KU offers Achiuwa
KU has offered a scholarship to Precious Achiuwa, a 6-9, 205-pound sophomore small forward from St. Benedict’s High in Newark, N.J., Zagsblog.com reports. Achiuwa, who hails from Nigeria, is considering KU, Ohio State, Seton Hall, St. John’s and others. His brother, God’sgift Achiuwa, attended St. John’s.
KU recruiting Little
KU is recruiting Nassir Little, a 6-6 junior small forward from Orlando (Fla.) Christian Prep, who is ranked No. 49 in the recruiting Class of 2018 by Rivals.com. He’s also considering North Carolina, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Florida, Oklahoma State and others.
Bol Bol nets Kentucky offer
Bol Bol, a 7-1 junior power forward from Mater Dei in Santa Ana, Calif., has received a scholarship offer from Kentucky, the former Bishop Miege player announced on Twitter. Bol, the No. 7-rated player in the recruiting Class of 2018 by Rivals.com, also has offers from KU, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, USC and St. John’s. According to Zagsblog.com, Bol is averaging over 25 points and nine rebounds per game on the Nike EYBL circuit.
Schedule announcement official
KU will play host to Texas Southern (Nov. 21), Oakland (Nov. 24) and Toledo (Nov. 28) in the campus round games of the third annual Hoophall Miami Invitational, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Wednesday. The games had previously been reported by The Star and other outlets. The event features round-robin play of five teams in the two weeks leading up to the Hoophall Miami Invitational on Dec. 2 at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. KU will meet Syracuse and Miami will play Princeton in the one-day doubleheader in Miami. Tickets for the Hoophall Miami Invitational are available via Ticketmaster and the AmericanAirlines Arena box office.
DeSoto barnstorming canceled
KU’s scheduled basketball “Barnstorming Tour” event, set for Thursday at DeSoto High School, has been canceled because of scheduling conflicts with KU’s senior players. Individuals who purchased tickets will have money returned to them by Lexington Trails Middle School, according to USD No. 232.
KU seniors Frank Mason, Landen Lucas and Tyler Self are scheduled to hold a “Barnstorming Tour” exhibition game Saturday at Blue Valley Northwest High School. Autographs are set for 5:30 p.m., with the game to follow at 7:30 p.m. The KU seniors and a couple of their friends will face BV Northwest’s four seniors and other area players. The seniors will also play Friday at Wichita East High School (autographs 6 p.m., game 8 p.m.).
KU recruiting targets 2017 and 2018
Class of 2017 KU Targets (rankings by Rivals.com)
No. 4: Trevon Duval, 6-2, PG, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
No. 42: Jeremiah Tilmon, 6-10, C, East St. Louis High School.
2017 Commitments: No. 38 Marcus Garrett, 6-5, PG/SG, Dallas Skyline High School; No. 10 Billy Preston, 6-9, PF, Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va. Transfer commitments: Dedric Lawson, 6-9, PF, Memphis; K.J. Lawson, 6-7, PF, Memphis; Charlie Moore, 5-11, PG, Cal; Jack Whitman, 6-9, PF, William & Mary. x-KU also has a commitment from Markese Jacobs, 5-11, Soph., Chicago Uplift Community High.
Class of 2018 KU Targets (rankings by Rivals.com)
No 1: Marvin Bagley III, 6-10, PF, Sierra Canyon High School, Chatsworth, Calif.
No. 2: Zion Williamson, 6-6, F, Spartanburg (S.C.) Day School.
No. 3: Romeo Langford, 6-4, SG, New Albany (Ind.) High School.
No. 4: Jordan Brown, 6-10, PF, Woodcreek High School, Roseville, Calif.
No. 6: Moses Brown, 7-0, PF, Archbishop Molloy High School, Queens, N.Y.
No. 7: Bol Bol, 7-2, PF, Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, Calif.
No. 8: Darius Garland, 6-0, PG, Brentwood Academy, Nashville.
No. 10: Simisola Shittu, 6-8, PF, Vermont Academy, Saxton River, Vt.
No. 11: Javonte Smart, 6-4, PG, Scotlandville (La.) High School.
No. 12: Quentin Grimes, 6-5, SG, College Park High School, The Woodlands, Texas.
No. 14: Naz Reid, 6-10, C, Roselle Catholic High School, Asbury Park, N.J.
No. 15: Immanuel Quickley, 6-4, PG, John Carroll High School, Bel Air, Md.
No. 17: Emmitt Williams, 6-7, PF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
No. 20: Silvio De Sousa, 6-7, PF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
No. 26: Jahvon Quinerly, 6-0, PG, Hudson Catholic High School, Hackensack, N.J.
No. 32: Louis King, 6-6, F, Hudson Catholic High School, Hackensack, N.J.
No. 35: Jairus Hamilton, 6-7, F, Cannon School, Concord, N.C.
No. 37: Devon Dotson, 6-1, PG, Providence Day High School, Charlotte, N.C.
No. 40: Brandon Williams, 6-2, PG, Crespi High School, Encino, Calif.
No. 46: Jules Bernard, 6-5, SG, Winward High School, Los Angeles.
No. 49: Nassir Little, 6-6, SF, Orlando (Fla.) Christian Prep.
No. 50: David Duke, 6-4, PG, Cushing Academy, Ashburnham, Mass.
No. 61: David McCormack, 6-10, C, Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va.
No. 65: Jaedon LeDee, 6-9, SF, Kinkaid High School, Houston.
No. 69: Jamie Lewis, 6-2, PG, Westlake High School, Atlanta.
No. 91: Aaron Wiggins, 6-6, F, Wesleyan Christian Academy, High Point, N.C.
Unranked: Ian Steere, 6-8, PF, Wesleyan Christian Academy, High Point, N.C.