Welcoming Whiteside

Stefano Rivera/Contributing Writer

Hassan Whiteside? Before the 2014-2015 NBA season, this was not a household name to many people. The Miami Heat gave him an opportunity to get his name out into the league and nation. So, who is Hassan Whiteside?

Whiteside was born on June 13, 1989 in Gastonia, N.C. There, he attended three high schools including Huss, Ashbrook, and Forestview High School. Even more difficult than attending three high schools in two years, was living with a single mother and six siblings.

For a short period of time, Whiteside moved to New Jersey to live with his father and play for East Side High School. He averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 5.5 blocks per game in his time at East Side.

His brightest spot while playing high school basketball was when he returned home and attended The Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C. In the 2008-2009 season, he lead this team to a No. 1 national ranking and a 34-2 record.

Whiteside, the No. 19 center in his class, decided to sign with Marshall University. He turned down an offer from the University of Kentucky, a college basketball powerhouse.

Whiteside averaged 13.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 5.4 blocks, and a .524 shooting percentage in his time with the Thundering Herd.

On December 12, 2009, Whiteside recorded Marshall’s first ever triple-double against Brescia University. He scored 17 points, gathered 14 rebounds, and rejected 11 shots to put his name in the record books.

Whiteside ended the 2009-2010 season with 182 blocks, which was No. 1 in the nation. He broke the Freshman record for blocks in a single season held by Shawn Bradley from BYU.

After just one collegiate season, Whiteside declared for the NBA draft on March 29, 2010. He was drafted 3rd in the 2nd round of the 2010 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings.

Throughout his career for the Kings, Whiteside dealt with being taken in and out of the roster. He was appointed to the King’s Developmental League team several times before finally being waived in 2012.

On May 16, 2013, Whiteside began playing overseas in China for the Sichuan Blue Whales. He dominated by averaging 25.7 points, 16.6 rebounds, and 5.1 blocks per game. He achieved various awards in China including Defensive Player of the Year.

After his time overseas, Whiteside signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. However, his time with the Grizzlies would be short lived as he would get released less than a month later.

On November 24, 2014, Whiteside would sign with the Miami Heat. The Heat, struggling without its prior superstar Lebron James, was looking for a young, energetic true center. Whiteside, at 7-foot and 265 pounds, would be the perfect fit for this organization.

It took some time for Whiteside to be comfortable with the rotation but finally, he made himself known. On Jan. 4, 2015 he recorded 11 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks against the Brooklyn Nets in which the Heat would win 88-84.

Whiteside proved the game against the Nets was not a fluke. Two games later, in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers, he scored 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. The Clippers’ front court, Deandre Jordan and Blake Griffin, had no answer for Whiteside and his dominance.

Whiteside’s best performance came on January 25 against the Bulls. Whiteside had 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 blocks, good for his first career triple-double. This broke the Heat’s single game block record set by Heat legend Alonzo Mourning.

The Heat look to increase Whiteside’s workload as the season progresses. Only averaging 17.1 minutes this season, he can be see many more double-doubles with an increased workload.

Whiteside’s paint awareness and athletic offensive capabilities will allow the Heat to work with a true center, something they’ve been lacking for several years.

With this height, size, and athleticism, Whiteside would look to follow the footsteps of great Miami Heat bigs Rony Seikaly, Shaquille O’Neal, and Alonzo Mourning and set himself in various Heat records.

The sky’s the limit for Whiteside. If he continues to improve day to day, he can be one of the elite centers in the NBA.

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