Robert Whaley may have scored 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Barton County on Friday in the Cougars' opening victory at the Jayhawk Shootout on Friday, but it wasn't exactly a masterpiece performance.
Whaley, a Benton Harbor, Mich., native who signed in the fall with Cincinnati, is simply a dominant physical talent. He scored 16 of his 27 points during a first half Barton run that saw the Cougars open up a 13 point lead.
Barton Head Coach Ryan Wolf feels that Whaley could put up even bigger numbers if he play with a consistent intensity and energy on a daily basis.
"Rob has been kind of up and down for us," Wolf said. "He could be the next Kenyon Martin, or he could easily be the next B.J. Grove -- it's up to him what he wants to do."
"I think he's pretty focused and he's playing harder now," Wolf continued. "His grandmother died, and that kind of set him back for a while, but he's playing better right now and scoring. He's eager to get to Cincinnati next year."
In Whaley, Cincinnati literally lands a man-child with the potential to dominate games on a nightly basis in the Conference USA level.
"Robert can score, and if he gets in better shape, he can be a good rebounder," Wolf said. "He's really skilled, and I think he gives them a scorer to go along with [Jason] Maxiell in the post."
"Consistency is the biggest question mark with Robert," Wolf continued. "But if he doesn't do that, he won't last very long at Cincinnati."
Indeed, Cincinnati Head Coach Bob Huggins is known for bringing out the best in his players, and has an often confrontational style that produces results from his squad.
Initially, there was a lot of talk about Whaley jumping to the NBA out of junior college. Wolf estimates that there have been 15 pro teams who have been through in the past year to take a look at Whaley and his potential.
"The NBA is not an option at this time, and he's going to go to Cincinnati," Wolf stated. "Some of the NBA teams that have been to see him think he's ready for the pros, others do not. I think he's pretty much set on going to Cincinnati."