|Posted by Brian Dickmann on March 27, 2017 at 5:45 PM|
Photo via Detroit Free Press
Jason Whitens is an intriguing prospect that has incredible credentials.
Fresh off another perfect season and another state championship, the 6’5” star from tiny Powers, Michigan – just 100 miles north of Green Bay in the Upper Peninsula – now turns his attention towards where he will continue his basketball career.
Whitens and his Powers North Central team finished a perfect 28-0 this season after winning the Michigan Class D title for the third straight year on Saturday to increase the nation’s longest winning streak to 83 consecutive wins.
The do-everything forward was named the Class D Player of the Year in Michigan for the second time and finished third in the state’s Mr. Basketball voting this season. He led his team in scoring at 23 points per game to go along with 11 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 3 steals per contest.
He also quarterbacked the school’s football team to back-to-back state titles in 8-man football and was named Michigan’s Player of the Year in 8-man football in each of the past two seasons going a combined 26-0.
But according to Fox Sports Detroit’s State Champs Network, Whitens has decided to focus on playing college basketball instead of college football. He had walk-on invitations to Wisconsin as well as Central Michigan for football.
While his basketball resume is even more impressive than his football resume, Division I scholarship offers have yet to come his way either. He has received preferred walk-on invitations to Michigan State and Central Michigan so far and has scholarship offers from Division II schools in Michigan like Grand Valley State, Lake Superior State, and Northern Michigan.
“This kid deserves a DI scholarship,” Powers North Central coach Adam Mercier said via MLive.com after his team’s championship game win on Saturday. “He's a hell of a player, he deserves that and I definitely think all of these players agree with that.”
“I think there's chances taken by other schools in the state of Michigan on kids that, to be honest with you, don't deserve a spot on the roster. And you've got a great kid like Jason Whitens sitting over there with a 3.85 GPA, 1200 on the SATs, three-time state champion, 108-1 and you're telling me he can't play DI just because he plays in Class D?”
Whitens is scheduled for a visit to the UW-Green Bay campus this week. Head coach Linc Darner and staff have been recruiting him for few months and Whitens attended Green Bay’s victory over Cleveland State back on January 23rd at the Resch Center.
A four year varsity starter, Whitens finishes high school career with a 108-1 record and hasn’t lost a football or basketball game since March of 2014.
He has good size at 6’5” 210 lbs and played multiple positions during his high school career including as a “point forward” bringing the basketball up the floor. He shot 57% from the floor and 82% from the free throw line.
"Over the past four years he's just evolved as a player," Mercier said. "This year he's been the complete package. He's gotten bigger, stronger, faster. And he always focuses on the team's success rather than individual accolades. That to me is his best attribute."
The Phoenix could have as many as three scholarships available after Kerem Kanter’s recent announcement that he is entering the NBA Draft this spring, though he won’t hire an agent meaning he could return to Green Bay or graduate and transfer and be eligible to play elsewhere immediately. The team will likely need to add at least two big men to help offset the losses of seniors Kenneth Lowe and Jamar Hurdle in addition to Kanter’s decision.
Green Bay has not yet extended a scholarship offer to Whitens, though that could change after his visit to the campus this week. The next opportunity for recruits to sign with college programs begins on April 12th.