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Questions About Maturity, ADD Cause Whiteside to Fall From First Round

Jun 25, 2010 – 2:25 AM
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Sam Amick

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Hassan WhitesideSACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The good news for Hassan Whiteside: he landed with one of the two teams he was hoping to play for.

The bad news: the 7-footer from Marshall, who was once considered a lottery pick, saw 32 players get selected before him.

In what may have been the most surprising slide of the NBA Draft, Whiteside was shockingly there for Sacramento's taking at No. 33 for a number of reasons.

He is a raw talent, albeit a potentially dynamic one. He played in Conference USA, although he dominated the lower-level competition and was named the conference's top freshman and Defensive Player of the Year after leading the NCAA in blocked shots.

Yet his agent, Andre Buck, confirmed what a league scout told FanHouse, that questions about the 21-year-old's maturity and his struggles with Attention Deficit Disorder appear to have scared some teams into passing on him.

Buck said Whiteside's ADD was diagnosed during his one season at Marshall, where he began to take medication to help with his focus but stopped doing so midway through the season.

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"He's going to have to figure out how he's going to address it, whether it's medication that's prescribed that helps him be better and that he'll probably take to get better," Buck said by phone. "At Marshall ... he was on medication he didn't like and didn't think was good for him. He stopped taking it.

"If he takes it and he's better, people are going to be mad they didn't take him earlier (in the draft). If he uses this as fuel, he could be really good, and teams will be sorry they didn't take him."

Still, Whiteside and Buck didn't expect this. They had heard that Houston might take him with the 14th pick, or perhaps Memphis somewhere in the teens. The Atlanta Hawks were asking about him for their 24th pick, and even Miami looked like a possibility at No. 32.

But Buck said Whiteside liked the fit in Sacramento all along, as the Kings had worked him out in Sacramento twice. The latest session last weekend included top-10 picks Ekpe Udoh (No. 6, Golden State) and Greg Monroe (No. 7, Detroit). Whiteside, however, will have to make his money as a non-guaranteed second-round pick.

"I heard throughout the process that teams were concerned about his readiness to play, and a little bit of the lack of experience he had, the level he played at," Buck said. "We're still surprised, but the silver lining is he had two teams he wanted to go to and Sac was one of them."

One NBA personnel man said his team was "scared" by Whiteside, but didn't elaborate on why. A general manager questioned his desire to improve and his lack of an offensive game.

But for the Kings, those concerns mean little because of where he was picked. Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie said Whiteside's ADD wasn't on his medical charts and was unconcerned when asked about it. Buck said the team "environment around him" will be key in his development.

Being the 33rd pick, of course, means Whiteside becomes a low-risk, high-reward proposition. And having already added significantly to their frontcourt with the recent trade for Samuel Dalembert and Thursday's selection of Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins with the fifth pick, the Kings hope the biggest slide of 2010 becomes one of the biggest steals.
Filed under: Sports