The biggest two-game stretch of Seton Hall’s season happened last week, yielding back-to-back wins, a leap into the projected field of 68, and a super showing from stud sophomore Isaiah Whitehead.
Whitehead is our Player of the Week after averaging 23.5 points, 7.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 1.5 steals on 13-of-25 shooting in the Hall’s pair of wins over Providence and fifth-ranked Xavier. Fifteen of Whitehead’s 25 shots were from 3-point range — and he sank eight of those attempts.
The Pirates (21-7) have been humming along under the national radar almost the entire season, but all of that changed with Sunday’s 90-81 home win over Xavier. It was such a huge victory — the biggest by margin ever in Seton Hall history against a top-five team. And damn did Seton Hall look good. The program’s first home win over a top-five team in 12 years sets the stage for a big March. Whitehead was helped in that Xavier game by a career-high 27 points and 12 boards from fellow sophomore Desi Rodriguez.
Whitehead has scored at least 20 points in 10 games this season, including four of the last five games. He’s averaging 20.3 points, 6.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in Seton Hall’s last nine games. He’s 6-foot-4, yet has the most blocks of any Pirate. It was an amazing February for Whitehead. Fans of the Hall have been waiting for this. Whitehead was a prized recruit, a player believed to be a program-changer. He’s looking like that now, but it’s fair to note that Rodriguez and Angel Delgado have proven themselves to be impact Big East players too.
You want a reversal of fortune for the better? The Pirates went 1-6 in February last season when the Pirates looked NCAA Tournament-worthy. Wasn’t the case. They totally wilted. Now, this season, Seton Hall went 6-1 in February. The Hall has won eight of its last nine games. It faces road tilts against Butler and DePaul to close out the regular season. Seton Hall’s won its most games in a season since 2003-04. One more win should lock up a bid for SHU.
Previous winners this season of the CBS Sports Player of the Week:
Week 1: Grayson Allen, Duke
Week 2: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
Week 3: Kyle Collinsworth, BYU
Week 4: A.J. English, Iona
Week 5: Troy Williams, Indiana
Week 6: Brice Johnson, North Carolina
Week 7: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Week 8: Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa
Week 9: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Week 10: Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette
Week 11: Juan’ya Green, Hofstra
Week 12: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Week 13: Roosevelt Jones, Butler
Week 14: Mo Watson, Jr., Creighton
Week 15: Alec Peters, Valparaiso
Whitehead was a prized recruit and has become, finally, a star player. (USATSI)