At the tender age of 15, Kahlil Whitney and his dad left their hometown of Chicago and moved to New Jersey. The family decided to to uproot their lives to provide a better education and basketball situation for Khalil.
The move was risk, but it was worth it. Whitney blew up on the national scene last year, nabbing over 15 scholarships offers from some of the top college programs in America. Whitney was also ranked as one of the top 60 players in America in the class of 2019.
Kahlil took his momentum from the summer and carried it over to the season for Roselle Catholic. Whitney saves his biggest games for when it matters most. For example, the sensational wing scored 17 points in a win against The Patrick School to bring home the Union County Championship.
Recently we sat down with Kahlil to discuss his summer on the AAU circuit, coming from a basketball family, what makes Roselle Catholic click and more. - by Christian Mordi / @thedribbledrop
TheDribbleDrop: This spring you played AAU basketball for The Mac Irvin Fire. Tell me about that experience,
Kahlil Whitney: Itwas a great experience as I got to play up last year. I averaged 26 points per game. We also qualified for Peach Jam. Overall I felt like we played well together. I feel like I got better as well. I also picked up 15 plus offers.
One really fun game was against the 17U Tim Thomas Playaz team. They had Jalen Carey, Paul Mulchay, Naz Reid and others. The game was in Las Vegas. It was a lot of hype around that one.
TheDribbleDrop: You have an interesting background story. For those who don’t know, you come from a basketball family. Your dad played for Louis Orr at Seton Hall, correct?
Kahlil Whitney: Basketball is my life. I have been playing since I was younger. Basketball has opened a lot of doors for me in my life. I’m really blessed to have the athletic ability to take advantage of that.
I get advice from my dad all the time. The best piece advice he gave me was to always play hard. Workouts or games, I need to play with a motor. I need to go hard at all times.
TheDribbleDrop: Tell us about your freshman year. Where did you play basketball at, how the season was, and why you decided to come to NJ to continue your career.
Kahlil Whitney: My freshman year I went to school called Solorio Academy in Chicago. I averaged close to 30 a game there. The competition was okay, but I felt like I needed more as I grew as a player. I decided to move to New Jersey and play for Roselle Catholic.
TheDribbleDrop: How would you describe Roselle Catholic basketball?
Kahlil Whitney: Energetic. Our coach lets us more freely on both sides of the floor to make plays.
TheDribbleDrop: Last year you guys made a deep run and pulled out a nail biter against Gil St. Bernards to win your section. You eventually fell short right before the T.O.C. What did you learn from last year that you carried over into this year?
Kahlil Whitney: Last year I wouldn’t say we were really a team. I felt like last year as a whole we played selfish. We weren’t thinking about an open teammate, we were thinking about improving our status by getting our own basket. The difference between this year and last year is that we care more about winning. We do whatever it takes to win.
The Dribble Drop: You play for Coach Boff. Tell me about your experience with him and the best piece of advice you got from him thus far.
Kahlil Whitney: Coach Boff is a great guy and great coach. He treats us very well and puts us in position to do what we do best. He’s a players coach. He lets us move freely. He doesn’t really yell that much. He always talks to us and teaches us what our best attributes are on the floor and how to use them out there.
TheDribbleDrop: If you were to highlight one facet of your team that makes you guys stand out, what would it be and why?
Kahlil Whitney: Scoring. I feel like our entire starting five can score at any time. That separates us from many teams in New Jersey. Most teams only have two or three guys, but all guys on our team can score.
TheDribbleDrop: Tell me one facet of your game your worked hard to improve on this off-season that you wanted to take to another level.
Kahlil Whitney: My shooting and my ball handling. I also focused a lot on playing harder at all times. No plays off.
TheDribbleDrop: Right now you are uncommitted. Tell us what you are looking for from a program on the next level.
Kahlil Whitney: A school that plays a style of play that I like and a coach that has the best interests in mind for me always. I’m not caught up in the hype of a school, I need a coach that believes in me and will help me grow.
TheDribbleDrop: What’s your personal and team goal for your junior year?
Kahlil Whitney: We have three goals this year. To go undefeated in New Jersey, to win a county championship and win the T.O.C.