Whack adjusting to professional ranks with Island Storm

Charles
Charles Reid
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Rashad Whack may be a fresh-out-of-college rookie, but that's not hindering the Island Storm guard.

Whack, 23, has already won a National Basketball League of Canada player of the week award and is racking up 12.4 points per game for his first post-university team, good for a fifth-place tie with fellow rook guard Sammy Zeglinski in team scoring.

Chalk up those numbers to learning a few early lessons about the professional game.

"Controlling my pace, especially from where I came from. You can't go 100 miles an hour (like in the college game) or you get exposed," Whacksaidafter Storm practice on Friday. "And making the right reads against bigger, smarter players."

Whack gets look at the learning curve tonight when the Atlantic Division-leading Storm (7-5) faces the Moncton Miracles (3-8) in Moncton at 7 p.m.

The Storm has won six of its last seven games and leads the season series against Moncton 2-0.

Some of Whack's success at the NBL level, saidStorm head coachJoe Salerno, is a good basketball mind and a humble approach, sometimes rare in rookies who've been "the man" in their previous programs.

"We're very pleased with him for his play as much as his personality. Some rookies in their first pro job can have a big head. That the furthest thing from Rashad," said Salerno, who recruited Whack at a Philadelphia pro-am with NBA players. "He prepared himself physically to play against men now, sometimes 28 to 30 years old. His high basketball IQ has helped him make some better decisions and a lot of that has shown up on the stat sheet."

It's no illusion Whack is double-digit scorer. The Hyattsville, Md., native, averaged 17.6 and 13.9 points per game in his two years, respectively, at Mount St. Mary's University and led the Mount in scoring both seasons.

And it's not just a different game in the pros, sometime necessity means changing roles on the fly.

Whack has spent many of his 27 minutes per game at point guard thanks to injuries to Zeglinksi and backing up point guard Avery Smith.

It's an island away from his comfortable shooting-guard role, but Whack said he credits Zeglinski and Smith for their advice, and his coach for allowing him to make mistakes, with easing the switch.

"I used to be afraid of it because of all the pressure. Now it's not a big deal," he said.

Zeglinski (lower body), Brandon Robinson (ankle) and Alex DesRoches (ankle) are out today. Doug McKinney (upper body) is available.

The Storm finish the December schedule at home versus Moncton on Boxing Day, at 2 p.m., and against the Saint John Mill Rats on New Year's Eve at 7 p.m.

Whack

A few tidbits about Island Storm guard Rashad Whack:

Age - 23 (born Jan. 22, 1991).

Height-Weight - Six-foot-three, 195 pounds.

Previous Teams - Mount S. Mary's, George Mason, NCAA Division 1.

Favourite Pre-Game Meal - Steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli.

Favourite NBA Team - Chicago Bulls.

Most Hated NBA Team - Utah Jazz.

One-On-One Dream Player - Michael Jordan.

One-On-One Nightmare Player - LeBron James.

Storm Notes - The stuff the bus food donation campaign held by the Storm and the Salvation Army goes Boxing Day, beginning at noon, at Eastlink Centre. Bringing a food item earns a ballot for a draw to win one of three pairs of VIP courtside tickets to the Storm's home game on Saturday, Jan. 3, against the Halifax Rainmen. The draw is at halftime of the Boxing Day game. Special Olympics P.E.I. (SOPEI) is selling Storm tickets for the New Year's Eve game versus Halifax for $10. Proceeds to support SOPEI. Tickets available at 902-368-8919 or sopei.com.  

 

Organizations: NBA, National Basketball League of Canada, Mount St. Mary's University George Mason NCAA Chicago Bulls Utah Jazz Salvation Army Eastlink Centre

Geographic location: Moncton, Philadelphia, Hyattsville

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  • Theresa
    December 21, 2014 - 16:14

    Keep pushing yourself to excel in your career. All things are possible thru God that strength you!