SPRINGFIELD — As the Roselle Catholic (NJ) boys basketball team walked off the court in defeat for the first time all season against Norcross (GA) after Saturday’s Hoophall Classic matchup at Springfield College, Lions coach Dave Boff remained optimistic.
"It wasn’t a great day for our whole team because they did a nice job defensively against us," he said. "The Blue Devils’ defense was trying to keep Kahlil Whitney out of his game. Even though he missed a couple of shots that he usually makes, maybe things would have been different. Overall, I thought he and our guys played well."
Even though Whitney finished with 12 points on 6-of-19 shooting during Saturday’s 75-55 loss, he also recorded a team-high eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Despite the low-scoring affair, the senior excelled on numerous fast-break opportunities while continuing to locate open teammates.
Following this season, Whitney plans on signing his commitment to continue playing basketball under Hall of Fame coach John Calipari at the University of Kentucky on May 3rd.
"I’ll be going back home near Chicago to sign my commitment to Kentucky at my Grandmother’s old middle school in front of many elementary students," Whitney said. "My ultimate goal by doing that is to give them something inspiring to witness, hopefully."
As Whitney entered the recruiting stage of his career, there was no contest.
"Many people have asked me where I would go if I hadn’t already made my decision, he said. "Truly, though, Kentucky has always been my dream school, so once I got an offer from them, I went with it."
Kentucky’s past alumni and energetic atmosphere helped make Whitney’s decision easier.
"Calipari’s resume speaks for itself since it’s Kentucky basketball," he said. "The fans are great; I love the atmosphere. As I was growing up, I watched guys like Anthony Davis and John Wall play inside that arena and it was great. I don’t see any issues with me succeeding on that team."
Through 15 games this year, the senior has averaged a career-best 21.8 points per game while also pulling down four rebounds. Ultimately, he’s hoping to bring energy to a Wildcats squad that owns the most wins in Division I history.
"When I go up there, I’m just hoping to score the basketball, be great defensively, be very versatile to help my teammates get in the game," he said. "I think playing with this team will be helpful towards my career because I’m always going to make the right play.
"So, if I make a great play to another five-star guy, it will only be beneficial for us all."
In the end, Whitney is leaving his future plans up in the air.
"Right now, I’m leaving my ultimate goals in God’s hands," he said. "If I’m blessed enough to enter the NBA, and produce as I should, I’ll be out there."