The good Dr. and his staff remained busy yesterday, as they landed their 3rd commitment in the class of 2013 in Shane Whitfield, 6’7 hybrid forward from the small town of Bayboro, North Carolina. Shane played 3 years of high school ball at Pamlico County High School before transferring to Word of God Christian Academy(alma mater of John Wall) in Raleigh, where he reclassified into the 2013 class. Raleigh, as some might know, is part of the “triangle” region down in NC, along with a little town called Durham that is home to a little college basketball team called Duke. You can draw your own parallels, but per Twitter it appears that Shane has grown up as a Duke fan(now a Lehigh fan!), so one can’t help but assume that the Lehigh upset from March 16th of this year certainly helped get Lehigh onto Shane’s radar.
Below is a link to a great article from Shane’s hometown paper with details on his decision(note article incorrectly had Lehigh listed as a 16 seed last year when we upset Duke, we were a 15 for those scoring at home, but really who is counting!).
I’ve pulled out some interesting excerpts for you:
Whitfield on why Lehigh: “I liked everything about it, from the academics to the coaches,” Whitfield said. “The campus is great and they also win basketball games.”
Whitfield on future goals: “My ultimate goal is to make the (NCAA) tournament every year,” Whitfield said. “It’s just going to come down to hard work and hopefully the team that we have will be good, so that we can win the Patriot League Title and make a run in the NCAA Tournament.”
Whitfield on improving his game: “I’m going to keep working on my explosiveness and my consistency on my jump shot,” Whitfield said. “This offseason, I’ve been working real hard in the weight room and shooting the basketball.”
Naturally the next question is so what type of player is Whitfield. ESPN gives their opinion here:
ESPN Recruiting Commentary
Shane is one of the hardest playing guys in the state of N.C. Depending on the system he’s in he could be an undersized 4 or a power 3. He gets things done with effort. He possesses a strong upper body and he’s a very good rebounder. He can also shoot it to 18 feet. His execution comes off physicality and effort.
He has to develop his skill package and needs to add post scoring moves and add more reliability to his perimeter game. If he does end up at the 3 he must improve his ballhandling.
Shane is a super student and his a high character kid. He’s overcome two knee injuries in high school. He’ll probably find a home in the Big South.
Thank you ESPN!
Below is a fairly detailed highlight video that provides some insight into the type of game that Shane possesses. From my analysis of this video plus others that I’ve seen online over the past 36 hours, I see a highly versatile player in Mr. Whitfield. I think he cleanly fits in at the small forward position at Lehigh as an athletic 6’6/6’7 player, but not at the power forward spot. Shane will fit our up tempo offense quite well, as he’ll run and fill the lanes with ease. He has a versatile game, as he can hit the 18-20 foot jump shot, but can also break guys down off the dribble and finish in traffic while absorbing contact. I think he’ll spend a lot of his time causing havoc on opponents in the transition game. In the half court game he can isolate on bigger forwards by taking them off the dribble with his quickness, while also being able to shoot over smaller forwards and power through them by using his strong frame with the dribble in getting to the basket. He also shows off some nice passing ability in several of the videos I found, and it appears that Shane could be a serious matchup problem for Patriot League opponents.
Kudos to Dr. Reed and his staff for securing the commitment from Shane, as until word got out on the web late last week that he was taking an official visit, there was no mention or rumors of a Whitfield/Lehigh connection, much like Tim Kempton’s recruitment. An official visit to the beautiful Bethlehem campus where Shane spent some time with the coaching staff and players while taking in a home football team win can all be listed as the common denominators that got a verbal quickly after returning from his official visit to Lehigh.
With Price, Kempton, and Whitfield in the bag, and one more scholarship available, where do the good Dr. and his staff turn to next?
As always, stay tuned folks.