Norfolk State guard Steven Whitley is in a basketball bind

Posted at 11:29 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 23:29:25-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk State basketball's Steven Whitley is like many college hoops players across the country whose chance at playing for a spot in the NCAA Tournament was taken away.

"It’s a dream so when it’s taken away from you it’s kind of tough,” Whitley said. “You can go quickly from a no name to a somebody”

A perfect NSU example of a player who gained notoriety in the Big Dance is Philadelphia 76ers player Kyle O'Quinn, who led the Spartans to an upset over Missouri in the 2012 NCAA Tournament and became a huge talking point of March Madness.

That sort of opportunity is unavailable to this year's players who come from smaller Division I schools. Not only do those athletes lost the chance to showcase their talents in the national spotlight, but they're also losing the opportunity to take part in pre-draft workouts with pro teams.

NSU's Whitley received multiple invites, but each opportunity has been canceled as everyone practices social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m in the midst now of trying to regather and research, and do a lot of things to better help me and my future being that this pandemic is going on," Whitley said. "It’s tough. This is the time that you dream of as a child, so once you’re in the middle of that transition and it stops, it’s like whoa.”

While that transition from amateur to pro has been put on hold, the work doesn't stop. Whitley continues to train every day until he'll be able to continue pursuing his dream of going pro.