For many players, junior college is a place to pick up the pieces for a promising career that has unexpectedly detoured off course.
Such is the case of 6-10 man-child Robert Whaley of Barton County C.C. in Great Bend, Kan., who is trying to put past personal problems behind him and get back on the road to a promising future in basketball.
Whaley (pictured right), a Benton Harbor, Mich., native, signed with Missouri last fall, but the Tigers released him from his letter of intent last spring after he encountered some serious off the court legal matters.
While rumors abounded that he might wind up at West Virginia as a Prop 48 sit-out, Whaley wound up at one of the nation's top junior college basketball programs in Barton County.
Whaley enjoyed a productive weekend at the Jayhawk Shootout with Barton County this past weekend, as the Cougars rattled off a pair of easy victories. He averaged 15.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and five blocks per contest in those two contests.
JUCO Junction/Rivalshoops.com had a chance to sit down with Barton Head Coach Ryan Wolf at the Jayhawk Shootout this past weekend, and he shared his thoughts on the Whaley situation.
Here is a transcript of that interview.
JJ: Last year, Robert had signed with Missouri but then was released by Tigers after his legal issues cropped up. Then there were rumors he might attend West Virginia. Can you tell me where things stand with Robert Whaley right now?
RW: Right now, he's just playing for us. He's not really worried about the future -- the NBA, West Virginia or Missouri. Right now he is just trying to get better as a player and mature. And I think that's why he is playing well, because he is not paying attention to anything else. He is kind of listening to his people back home. They just want him to come here and get better.
JJ: In terms of his recruitment, is he open?
RW: We are not even dealing with it. He is just a freshman and nobody is recruiting him. He is just playing. It's kind of a good situation for him. He does not want to be recruited right now. He does not want to think about the NBA right now. He's happy, he likes his teammates and he likes going to school right now.
JJ: You mentioned the NBA a few times. Is that something that is a possibility?
RW: It's a possibility. He was right there with Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler coming out of high school. We've probably had 10 or 15 NBA scouts into see him. I think there are 10 here this weekend. The Blazers have been in seven or eight times, and the Grizzlies have been in. There have been a lot of people in to see him. But they've been in to see a lot of those guys. So it's a possibility.
JJ: Is it a situation where Robert might do just one year of JUCO, or do two?
RW: It's like I said. We don't even talk about it right now. He just wants to play. He's going home for six days and coming back early. He's a kid. He's so big, but in a lot of ways, he's no different than 10-year old kid. He likes to have fun and play basketball.
JJ: Can you talk about what he's done well for you? You guys are off to a great start this year.
RW: He has scored really well for us and blocked shots. I think the big thing that he does is practices hard and brings up the level of our other players with his practice habits.