Age has always been sort of an illusion for Archbishop Spalding basketball star Cam Whitmore.
He looks older than he actually is (17) due to his height and build.
This used to present an issue for Whitmore’s father, Myron, whenever he’d bring him along for a workout at LA Fitness.
“If you look at his size, I couldn’t put him over in the play area while I worked out,” Myron Whitmore said. “And so I told them, ‘He plays basketball. Can he just go over to the basketball court and just play with the guys there, even though he wasn’t of age?'”
The experience of playing with older, physically stronger players helped put Cam Whitmore on the path to becoming one of the top high school players in the country.
Last October, only a month or so after his senior year at Spalding began, Whitmore committed to play college basketball at Villanova, where he figures to be an early contributor next season as a wing scorer and defender.
“I think it’s the best fit for him,” Spalding boys’ basketball coach Josh Pratt said. “Being closer to home, having a Hall of Fame coach [Jay Wright], a guy that coaches USA Basketball, so he understands the pro side. And, if you watch Villanova play, they are very patient. They are unselfish. Everything is off two feet. And they prepare their players to go to the NBA.
“I think [Whitmore’s] style fits that. I think he skill set fits that. And I think Coach Wright will do an outstanding job mentoring him, coaching him and getting him to the next level. He’ll be a very impactful player in the Big East.”
Renowned for his explosiveness around the rim, the 6-foot-7, 220-pound Whitmore is the top-ranked prospect in Maryland and in the top 30 nationally for the Class of 2022, according to recruiting services. ESPN has him at No. 29 in its top 100 high school players in the class.
This season at Spalding, Whitmore is averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds per game, though he is currently nursing an ankle injury. Spalding is 21-5 overall entering its game against Mount Carmel Feb. 11. The MIAA A Conference tournament will take place later this month.
In late January, Whitmore was one of 24 players selected nationally to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game on March 29 in Chicago.
“Other than [former Spalding star and NBA player] Rudy Gay, he’s probably the most athletic kid that I have coached,” Pratt said of Whitmore. “He is just super powerful.”
Whitmore said the decision to go to Villanova was made easier “because it was like a brotherhood.”
“Everybody treated everybody else the same,” he said. “Everyone treated it like it was family. That’s what I wanted.”
It’s similar to the situation Whitmore currently has at Spalding, where he is playing alongside a group of lifelong friends.
“That was the main point,” he said of his college decision.
Most of Whitmore’s other college visits were to schools that were in driving distance of friends and family (Penn State, Pitt, Maryland), and he canceled scheduled visits to colleges that were farther away (Miami, Louisville, UCLA).
His parents have always come to his games, and he didn’t want to make it harder on them to continue to do so.
“I am two hours away [at Villanova],” Whitmore said. “That’s not that bad.”
During his time at Spalding, Whitmore overcame a broken leg that cost him his freshman season. More recently he has worked diligently on expanding his offensive range away from the basket and developing a jump shot. It’s a tool he’ll need if he is going to thrive at Villanova and eventually achieve his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.
“I am grateful for my development and truly blessed to be in the position I am in,” Whitmore said. “It’s been a long journey, full of ups and downs. I have been through a lot.”
When asked what he is most looking forward to about playing at Villanova, he said, “I can’t wait to feel the atmosphere. That’s really it.”
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Burke/Spalding Cav Club