Roosevelt (Chicken) Whyley is a quiet man who can bring the crowd – and his teammates – out of their seats with what he can do on the basketball court.
The 25-year-old Nassau, Bahamas, forward is putting the finishing touches on a collegiate career that will see him leave Holland College at season’s end as the Hurricanes all-time leading scorer and one of its most decorated athletes.
“It’s a big deal to me,” Whyley said of the scoring record. “It’s a blessing.”
He’s racked up the points in a myriad of ways: draining threes, slamming rim-rocking dunks and chipping in one point at a time at the charity stripe.
“He’s a physical freak,” said former teammate Chase Bowden, who is now working with the team. “People built like that shouldn't be able to move like he does. He’s built like a football player.”
Whyley surpassed Bowden for the scoring record in December. It was Bowden, who informed his former teammate of the achievement. And, interestingly enough, Bowden said the first day he met Whyley, the explosive forward said he was going to beat his record.
“To actually see him do it, it was funny,” Bowden said during Tuesday’s practice. “I was the one that told him because he had no idea. He was excited about it, I was excited about it, I’m just happy for him.”
Whyley left the Bahamas and first attended Ranger College in Texas. His girlfriend at the time was going to Holland College and suggested Whyley come to P.E.I. after his coach at Ranger was fired.
“I didn't know a … thing about Canada,” Whyley acknowledged. “I like it. It’s a good country, even though it’s too cold for me.”
The Hurricanes are sure glad he made the decision four years ago.
“We knew we were getting a pretty good athlete and we knew we were getting a guy with some size who can play a multitude of positions,” coach Josh Whitty said. “He’s been awesome kid from Day 1. I’d coach him forever if I could.”
Whyley has grown his game since he arrived in Charlottetown, but it didn’t happen by accident.
“He spends a ton of time in the gym shooting and working out,” Whitty said. “Everything he has received over the years (in terms) of accolades and awards, he has absolutely put the time in and earned.”
While Whyley is pleased to hold the career points, steals and field goals made records for the college, he and his teammates have their eyes set on something greater.
“We are all here for one reason – to win national championships,” he said.
Whyley has three bronze medals from the past three seasons and is looking to bring home the gold that has elluded the college.
Earlier this week, the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association released its weekly rankings with the Hurricanes soaring to the top spot.
“Oh yeah, No. 1,” Whyley smiled when asked if he saw the list. “That’s a big deal. We’ve been fighting for that (since) my first year. Now that we have it, we hope to keep it.”
Whitty said Whyley will leave a major mark on the program.
“He’ll leave here with a couple of diplomas and a real bright future on and off the court.”
Need to know
Roosevelt (Chicken) Whyley
Hometown – Nassau, Bahamas.
Age – 25.
Height, weight, forward – Six-foot-six, 220-pounds forward.
Coach Josh Whitty said: “He’s been as exciting a player that has ever played here.”
Former teammate Chase Bowden said: “He’s probably the best rebounder I’ve ever played with. There’d be three people standing in front of him and he’s the one that somehow gets the ball because no one can box him out.”
Origins of the nickname – When Whyley was in junior high school, a friend coined the moniker. “When she first saw me, I was tall and skinny, skinny, bony, bony, small, small,” he said. “She was like ‘Oh, you’re named chicken. . . It stuck.”
GP Pts./G Reb./G A/G FG% FT% 3%
12 20.4 10.3 3.5 70.3 86.8 23.5
A look at Holland College Hurricanes men’s basketball team’s all-time leading scorers. It includes all Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association regular season and playoff games, but not games at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championship.
1. Roosevelt (Chicken) Whyley* 1,383
2. Chase Bowden 1,244
3. Jace Colley* 737
4. Travis Adams* 741
5. Matt Morrison 682
6. Alvin Parker 657
7. Orlando Palmer 631
8. Leo Morris 612
9. Alex MacLeod 532
10. Trevone Grant 520
* Active players
Coach Josh Whitty said this regarding Whyley: “If you were to compile a list of all-time highlights here at the college they’d be littered with plays made by him.”