Seton Hall scored a major recruiting coup Thursday when Lincoln High School star shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead verbally committed to joining the Pirates in the fall of 2014 over fellow finalists St. John's, Indiana, Pittsburgh and Minnesota.
What it means: Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard is building some serious recruiting momentum. Last week, the Pirates reeled in a star out of Brooklyn, N.Y., Bishop Loughlin guard Khadeen Carrington. And last month, Seton Hall secured Huntington Prep (W.Va.) power forward Angel Delgado, the No. 63-ranked player in the ESPN 100.
Whitehead is ranked even higher than Delgado at No. 35. The Pirates also have an ESPN 100 recruit who will be a freshman this season -- point guard Jaren Sina, ranked No. 91 in the Class of 2013.
Seton Hall is coming off a 15-18 year, including a 3-15 conference record, Willard's second losing season in three years at the helm. This is a critical juncture for him, particularly with the new Big East launching this year.
It's important to note that Willard's coaching staff has undergone a shake-up during the offseason. Former Rutgers head coach and ace recruiter Fred Hill came aboard, and Willard recently added former St. Raymond High School coach and Manhattan College assistant Oliver Antigua to the staff. Delgado is a native of the Dominican Republic, and Antigua served as an assistant coach with the Dominican Republic national team this summer.
On the other hand: This is a disappointing result for St. John's, which will be competing against Seton Hall in the new Big East. But the two programs are in different places right now.
The Pirates are in full-on rebuilding mode, while the Red Storm roster is already stocked with talent. With the return of Big East Rookie of the Year Jakarr Sampson and high-scoring guard D'Angelo Harrison, St. John's should be near the top of the Big East standings and make the NCAA tournament this season.
Whitehead would have been a nice get for Steve Lavin, particularly since he's a New York City kid, but this is not a crippling blow for the Red Storm.
What's next: College basketball season is fast approaching! Teams are allowed to start practicing Sept. 27.
Seton Hall will begin play with an exhibition game against Caldwell College on Nov. 2. St. John's will also play its first exhibition game Nov. 2, versus San Francisco State.