Through three days at the PIT no player has helped himself more than Western Michigan's Shayne Whittington. The 6-11 big man came into the tournament as a virtual unknown, sporting a career 16.7 3-point percentage (on only 48 attempts) and a 28.4 jump shot percentage that didn't suggest he would become a stretch big that's so coveted at the professional level, especially the NBA. But as soon as Whittington let one go from deep with a solid base, excellent mechanics and elevation, and a smooth release, it was clear his college 3-point shooting numbers were a mirage.
Through three games at the PIT Whittington has knocked down as many 3-pointers as he did in four years at Western Michigan, going 10-22 from distance. Whittington's makes haven't just been of the standstill, spot-up variety either. The Paw Paw, Michigan native showed the ability to make jumpers on the move, coming off of pin downs to his right and his left, and drilling a jump shot off the bounce.
While lacking explosiveness, Whittington isn't a stiff. He moves well for his size, most evident by his footwork and ability to shoot on the move. Whittington gets excellent lift on his jumper for a player his size. Although he would most likely be relegated to a floor-spacer role at the professional level, Whittington has showed some game inside the arc at the college level. He doesn't have the best feel for the game as he's prone to forcing the issue and driving into traffic in face up situations, but Whittington has solid touch on his right hand jump hook and has the ability to knock down face up jump shots and pick and pop to mid-range spots. With that said, Whittington lacks a consistent left hand, gets pushed off the block too often and shouldn't be relied on as a primary scoring option on the block.
Defensively, Whittington lacks potential because of his limited athleticism, short arms (6-10 ¼ wingspan) and strength (237 pounds) for the center position. He works very hard battling in the post but struggles keeping stronger bigs from backing him down and scoring at the rim. He's a bit of a tweener on the defensive end, unable to stay in front of power forwards but not strong enough to battle centers. He's also a limited rim protector (1.9 blocks per 40) due to his short arms and lack of lift. Whittington covers up some of those deficiencies with good effort, but figures to struggle against elite athletes and strong bigs.
Whittington did a nice job cleaning the glass in the Mid-American Conference (11.1 per 40, 3.0 offensive and 8.1 defensive) but figures to struggle a bit at the professional level because of his physical tools. He has solid box out technique on the defensive glass and puts in good effort but certainly won't be a monster on the boards. Despite some of his physical shortcomings Whittington caught the eye of NBA personnel with his shooting stroke and potential as a stretch big. There's no question Whittington made himself some money this week and will be considered for pre-draft workouts, summer league and vet camp.