Experience, support group have Lincoln’s Whitehead set up for college success

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Isaiah Whitehead has been getting some reminders that his time as Abraham Lincoln’s star basketball player is coming to a close, and an even greater challenge awaits him at Seton Hall.

He’s gone to senior prom and classes have some to an end. Whitehead received the Public School Athletic League’s Wingate Award, given to the best senior student athletes in their respective sports earlier this month. A Seton Hall fan has already created a website dedicated to Whitehead in preparation of his arrival.

“This award is just telling me that it’s the end of the road at Lincoln, so I’m just looking forward to going to Seton Hall in the summer and getting better,” Whitehead said.

The Coney Island native is well-prepared for what lies ahead. He is used to the pressures that come with being the face of a program, but this time he will be asked to help push the Pirates to the next level.

Whitehead already knows how to handle himself with the class needed to do so. The spotlight will be nothing new to him. Much of that is thanks to the foundation laid by his mother Ericka Rambert.

“It shows just how tough my mom was,” Whitehead said. “I think it’s because of her that I’m very respectful, never really out of character, just by doing everything she taught me growing up.”

Whitehead will very much still be in his comfort zone. His mother will still be a short drive away. Lincoln teammate Desi Rodriguez — Robin to Whitehead’s Batman — is coming to Seton Hall with him along with friend and Bishop Loughlin star Khadeen Carrington.

Former Lincoln coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton said he would be there as well, confirming the worse kept secret in Brooklyn — that he will join Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard’s staff as an assistant.

“The fact that I am going to be in college with him is even better,” said Morton, a long-time mentor to Whitehead.

Whitehead will be heading to South Orange in July to begin summer classes, to work out, and to get accustomed to college life. He and Rodriguez had already talked about the need to get their driver’s licenses, since New Jersey doesn’t have the same public transportation they enjoyed in Brooklyn.

“We are just trying to get around,” Whitehead said.

He leaves Lincoln with his name among its great players, and heads into an opportunity the others did not have. Whitehead can have college success close to home, something Stephon Marbury and Lance Stephenson could not at George Tech and Cincinnati, respectively.

He has all the skills, all the experience, and all the support to do so.

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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