This week, I interviewed Brian Whitfield. He is a 6’5” Shooting guard that has the most unique situation of all the players I have interviewed. He is coming off of a season that was cut short due to injury. He averaged 15 PPG, 4 RPG, and 5 APG. He is from Atlanta, and has played at the NAIA and JUCO levels.
First off, Whitfield started off by talking about his beginnings and his inspiration.
Growing up in Atlanta was dangerous, you really gotta stay focus. My motivation is my mother just seeing her struggle everyday. Her not eating everyday and making a way for her 3 sons to eat. Also, my cousin passing due to gang violence really motivated me to move alone and focus on my craft. My biggest influence is my trainer Cam Davis. He has worked and molded my whole game from the ground up. He gives me advice and keeps my mental on track when I get down on myself.
Q1-You have recently played for La Sierra University at the NAIA level. Why did you decide to go that route and what should people know about the NAIA level?
I went to an NAIA because out of JUCO I had D1 offers. However, had to step away from the game due to personal issues. At that level you’d be surprised as to how many high major division 1 transfers we played against.
Q2-This past year, you got injured and were limited to 6 games. What has helped you stay focused while rehabbing?
The thing that helped me with rehabbing my body is going on a strict diet. No meat, all water and fruits vegetables and grains and nuts. You have to learn different ways to make protein and food taste good for yourself .While I rehab, I am focusing on total body strength . Increasing my vertical back and even higher by time the summer over.
Q3-You are currently in the recruiting process and have 2 years left of eligibility. What can you say about your next move?
I plan to go to D2 Paine college in Augusta Georgia and play under Coach Beard. Coach Beard has connections to the NBA. He has had a rough season last year and I plan to turn that around. Every player in college will be on notice division 2 and 1. I’m coming for everyone.
Q4-You have also played at the JUCO level. How would you compare the talent and overall experience of NAIA vs. JUCO?
The talent in JUCO is its top tier. There is nothing but dogs in JUCO. You really have to focus on your work and basketball. You are competing against your teammates and opponents for a scholarship.There are talented players in both divisions. You have to play everyday and night and really work on your craft.
Q5-Finally, your goal is to declare for the 2021 NBA Draft. How do you plan to do this coming from smaller schools and what advice would you give others trying to play professionally without going D1?
With me planning to declare from a division 2 school I really have to take care of what I can control. Focus on myself and my game. I Work on my craft everyday, I can only focus on the work because all the results will come from my work. I plan to do something impossible and something that never has been done in this day and age…a D2 guard getting drafted. I also plan to get POY in my conference, be first team all defense, win a conference ship and make the D2 tournament
Whitfield’s trainer Cameron Davis with EYA sports training also had this to say about him.
Brian has been working with me since the summer of 2016. He lives and breathes this game. Anytime I’m in the gym, Brian is in the gym. Paine is getting a kid that will work his butt off and help the Paine program reach new levels. If everything works out, Brian can play at the next level. He is a 6’5 guard that can do anything you need. He is a player that wants to be pushed and challenged, and I believe Paine is the right school for him to embrace that challenge.
Big shout-out to Brian for the Interview. I can’t wait to see what he does in the future!
Photo: Paine Athletics