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Rookie point guard Isaiah Whitehead overwhelmed against Bulls

Isaiah Whitehead of the Brooklyn Nets controls the

Isaiah Whitehead of the Brooklyn Nets controls the ball in the first half against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center on Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Credit: Jim McIsaac

In Game 1 of his NBA career former Seton Hall star Isaiah Whitehead was described by Jeremy Lin as an inspiration for his defensive play in a fourth-quarter cameo at Boston. But injuries to Greivis Vasquez and Randy Foye, Lin’s backups at point guard, thrust Whitehead into a major role in Game 4 of his career Monday night at Barclays Center.

It was a lot to ask so soon, and Whitehead suffered with his teammates through a 118-88 loss to the Bulls. The rookie scored six points and made only three of 11 shots while committing five turnovers. “I just didn’t come out ready to play when the team needed it,” Whitehead said. “I think I came out of the gate a little too fast by trying to force things. I just didn’t approach the game well.”

It was a baptism of fire for Whitehead, who just moved to point guard last year at Seton Hall and suddenly found himself facing Bulls veteran Rajon Rondo Monday night. Asked what’s different from college, Whitehead said, “Everything. It’s like we’re learning new basketball. It’s a totally different approach, a totally different game, totally different players, the best players in the world. Any little thing you do wrong, you get bit for it.”

Hoiberg excited for Mullin at St. John’s

When Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg was at Iowa State before taking over the Bulls last season, he served as an inspiration for former NBA teammate Chris Mullin to return to St. John’s as head basketball coach, and top Cyclones recruiter Matt Abdelmassih joined Mullin.

“I was really excited when Chris took over in a similar situation to me where he went back to his alma mater,” Hoiberg said. “He got one of the best recruiters in the country in Matt Abdelmassih. I’m excited for him this year with the talent they have. Chris is one of the hardest-working guys. I know he’ll bring that same passion and energy to St. John’s.”

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