Robert Whaley did not have to wait to be interviewed. Following Barton's 89-87 loss to Coffeyville C.C. on Sunday at the Region VI quarters, he caught JUCO Junction/Rivalshoops.com off guard by coming up to us and telling us of his plans for the immediate future.
"I'm coming back to Barton next year," he said in a soft voice. "Isn't that what you wanted to know?"
Whaley has become accustomed to the drill of being interviewed since he was a high school phenom in Benton Harbor, Mich. The 6-10, 240 pound freshman power forward/center from Barton County C.C. in Great Bend, Kan., had committed to Missouri out of high school, but a number of legal and academic issues forced him to go the junior college route.
This season at Barton, Whaley averaged 16.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game. He started in 28 of the Cougars' 31 games, shooting 57 percent from the field and just 56 percent from the free throw line.
Whaley has an excellent combination of size and agility for a 6-10 player, and it's a major reason why many NBA scouts have been to Barton games this season.
Barton Head Coach Ryan Wolf said that most NBA teams have sent scouts to evaluate Whaley, but added that five to six NBA general managers have been in to take a look at him as well. One of the more interested parties, Wolf said, was Atlanta Hawks GM Pete Babcock.
"Cincinnati is really the only college recruiting him," Wolf said. "He can't go back to Missouri, but a lot of people feel he will wind up in the NBA after next year."
So for now, Whaley appears to be happy and doing well at Barton, which is a good thing for a young man who had lived such a troubled past. Should anything change regarding Whaley's situation, Rivalshoops.com will let you know.