Freshman guard K.C. Whitaker scored 15 points in his collegiate debut last week against Florida Tech.
Nov. 10, 2011
By David DeCordova | UAB Athletic Media Relations
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - UAB freshman guard K.C. Whitaker starts his Division I career as part of a signing class that includes three new freshmen with six new players in total. Whitaker plans to use his sharp-shooting skills to help a team that has high hopes coming off of a 22-9 record, which earned them an outright Conference USA regular season championship along with a trip to NCAA Tournament.
Coming out of high school, Whitaker piled up the accomplishments. He was tabbed a two time all-conference performer and, was named the most valuable player of his team in 2010. He helped lead Flint Hill (Va.) High School to back-to-back league titles.
However, Whitaker had to overcome a massive roadblock late his senior year after he suffered a broken left arm on a breakaway layup opportunity. The 70th-rated top player in the states of Maryland and Virginia according to CapitolHoops.com, was now off every college coaches' radar.
"I was on a breakaway and as I went up for the layup I was fouled and landed right on my shooting (left) arm and broke it," Whitaker said, "When that happened, I was about two to three weeks away from confirming my arrival to Saint Mary's" (D-III school in Pennsylvania)."
During his recovery, he was told by his high school coach, Rico Reed, to look into prep schools to further his playing time and hopefully get another shot at a scholarship.
"I was told by my high school coach to look into prep schools in the area," Whitaker said. "I attended a try out and everything opened back up with recruiting and started to get a lot of offers."
Whitaker decided to join Fishburne Academy (Va.) after his senior year came to a screeching halt. Whitaker spoke highly of his former prep school coach, Ed Huckaby, on how he prepared him for the D1 level.
"When I started practicing with coach Huckaby, it was so much different than any other coach I had at that point," Whitaker said. "He was already at the D-I coaching level, which was way more intense. It was another step up for me in my career."
There is no doubt that Whitaker's strength is his shooting ability. as he averaged a phenomenal 53-percent shooting from beyond the arc coming out of Fishburne. He admits that developing his shot took years of practice, but in his childhood is where he began to see that he had the skills to become pretty good at his favorite pastime.
"I realized it when I was young actually," Whitaker said. "I was home schooled through my ninth grade year and anytime I had a break or something, I would just go outside and shoot every chance I got. Since it was a driveway we didn't have anything marked off so I never realized how far I was shooting from."
Whitaker took his new-found talents to organized sports around age 10.
"I started playing in leagues around my sixth grade year and always shot threes because of the way I practiced in the driveway at home, it was just easy for me."
Since arriving on campus, Whitaker has enjoyed getting used to his home away from Ashburn, Va. It was actually made easier because his sister, Hanna Beth, has actually joined Whitaker here at UAB and is a manager with the men's basketball team as well.
Since adjusting to his new team and system, he explains how it is playing for UAB Head Coach Mike Davis.
"He pushes you everyday and he see's everything on the court so whenever you think he's not looking and you mess up, he definitely sees it."
Whitaker was pleasantly surprised with the amount of trust Davis has put in him since practicing with the team.
"I didn't realize how much he was going to put the ball in my hands but I'm enjoying every minute of it."