Randolph, a devout Christian, seems almost too good to be true. He's a gym rat who doesn't like to play in pickup games because he would "rather do drills," he says. He rarely goes out socially, and he doesn't even have a driver's license. "Shavlik wants to be a great basketball player," says his dad, "and he's willing to sacrifice for that."
Trouble for Top Recruit
Will Whaley Find A College?
Robert Whaley says that he has never heard of Richie Parker, the former New York City high school star who became a national pariah five years ago after being convicted of sexual abuse, but Whaley is dangerously close to being cast into oblivion in similar fashion. A 6'9" forward from Benton Harbor, Mich., Whaley, now 19, was charged last January with two counts of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl. The case was dropped on June 13, two weeks after Whaley's trial ended in a hung jury. However, Missouri, which signed him to a letter of intent last November, still voided his scholarship offer. "It seems a lot of people are judging me who don't even know me," Whaley says. "How can you punish someone who wasn't convicted?"
Given his considerable talents, Whaley will probably still end up playing for a major program next season—Memphis and West Virginia are the leading candidates—but any coach who wants him will first have to convince his university that Whaley is a risk worth taking. Whaley has had numerous brushes with the law, dating back to 1994, when he was charged with unlawful use of an automobile. He pled guilty and received probation. The following year he was charged with breaking into a house. He pled guilty to home invasion and was kept on probation.
Last Nov. 28, five days after the alleged rape, Whaley checked himself into a detox program at Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, and hospital records showed that Whaley suffered from chemical dependency and depression. Whaley was also arrested last winter for his involvement following an altercation in which he allegedly kicked in the front door at the home of a 40-year-old man in Benton Township, Mich. Those charges were dropped, but Whaley was later placed under house arrest and spent two weekends in jail for having violated his bail agreement from the rape charges.
Missouri coach Quin Snyder says the school had decided to rescind Whaley's scholarship several months ago but held off making the announcement until the trial was over. "Given the sensitivity of the legal proceedings, we didn't think it would be fair to distance ourselves from Robert in a self-serving way," says Snyder. "He has had an inordinate amount of adversity in his life, and we thought we were the right environment for him. I think what he needs now is a fresh start."
Whaley agreed to sign with the Tigers largely because of the presence of Snyder's top assistant, Tony Harvey, who had been hired as an assistant in 1999 and was elevated to associate coach the following year. Harvey's father, Lou, served as Whaley's legal guardian for almost three years while Whaley was in high school. Whaley says he was "shocked" when Missouri revoked his scholarship, which he learned of from a newspaper reporter at the courthouse, but he is trying to stay upbeat.
"I have a whole different outlook on things," he says. "They say all men go through trials and tribulations. I think all this was a wake-up call for me. It's time to get straightened out."