In the 2016 NBA Draft, Isaiah Whitehead became the first Brooklyn-born draftee selected to the Brooklyn Nets roster since the team’s move to the New York in 2012. His notoriety in the Brooklyn high school basketball scene and his intrigue as a second-round sleeper make him a perfect fit for the Nets.
Isaiah Whitehead played high school ball at Abraham Lincoln High School in the heart of Brooklyn. While there, he became a very highly touted, five star recruit and a McDonald’s High School All-American. Despite having garnered scholarship offers from several high profile college basketball programs, Whitehead decided to embrace his tri-state area roots and play for the Seton Hall Pirates.
While at Seton Hall, Whitehead accomplished several feats, including winning the 2016 Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player. His career came full circle after being drafted by the Nets with the 42nd pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He officially signed a contract with his hometown team on July 8.
Most second-round picks don’t receive a introductory press all to themselves, but the Nets knew that Whitehead was a special case. The organization gave him a moment to shine in Coney Island, only a few blocks away from his boyhood home. Having the press conference in a public area attracted not only media, but fans as well. The event saw a large Nets fan contingent (many with Whitehead, #15 jerseys in hand) excited to cheer on their hometown kid.
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Whitehead’s hometown charm has the ability to attract more Brooklynites to Nets games next season. More local support would be a great help for an organization that has little to be excited for at the moment. Whitehead’s return home has the opportunity to do what Mikhail Prokorhov famously said when he initially moved the team to New York: turn Knicks fans into Nets fans. Adding a local flare to the team with Whitehead, and Long Island native Kenny Atkinson as coach, will certainly help attract more fans to Barclays next season.
"“It’s real exciting. All my friends and family are out here to see me finally introduced. It’s a dream come true.”"
In addition, it doesn’t hurt that Whitehead is publicly embracing playing for his hometown team. In his introductory press conference, Whitehead had this to say about playing for the Nets, “It’s real exciting. All my friends and family are out here to see me finally introduced. It’s a dream come true.”
Whitehead will get his chance to shine in Brooklyn this season. He will be seeing playing time alternating between the point and shooting guard positions.