Long. Athletic. Raw. These are the adjectives typically used to describe freshman forward/center Hassan Whiteside of Marshall, who declared for the NBA Draft on Monday, according to Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports. While Whiteside may not be a household name, laboring in relative anonymity for the Thundering Herd, he has been on NBA scouts' radars for the past few months, and figures to land somewhere in the mid-to-late lottery.
The 7'0'', 235-pound Whiteside averaged 13.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 5.4 blocks per game this season for Marshall as a 20 year-old freshman. Given that he is in fact two years old for his class, it was widely expected that he would leave for the NBA early, and, again according to Goodman, it seems that Whiteside will indeed sign with an agent, ending any possibility that he could return to school.
Whiteside is a consenus lottery pick due to his freakish combination of size and athleticism. ESPN's Chard Ford lists him as the 10th-best prospect in the 2010 draft, while NBADraft.net has him 11th, and Draft Express ranks him 18th. Whiteside's explosive leaping ability makes him a dominating weak-side shot-blocker and rebounder, but his thin frame means that he's likely two to three years away from being a meaningful contributor on the NBA level. Scouts have also questioned his maturity and work ethic, prompting Goodman to describe his overall package as a "cross between Marcus Camby and Andray Blatche" (yikes).
Perhaps not so coincidentally, Marshall's head basketball coach Donnie Jones announced on Monday that he will leave the Thundering Herd to coach Central Florida, although this reportedly did not factor into Whiteside's decision.