Rams Standout Poised to Become 2nd Player in School History to Reach 2K
South River’s Derrick Whitaker shown here in action against North Brunswick, scored 22 points in an 80-68 GMC crossover victory against the Raiders on Monday night to go over 1,900 points in his career. Whitaker is currently 95 points away from 2,000 for his career.
SOUTH RIVER, NJ—On Monday night, South River traveled to North Brunswick to rekindle an old Bicentennial Conference match-up from the 1970s and early 80s. The two teams did more than that in a wild game that almost had 150 points in regulation, 17 threes in the first half, and six players scoring in double figures. South River ended up winning the contest 80-68 as senior Derrick Whitaker led the way for the Rams with 22 points.
Those 22 points by Whitaker places him at 1,905 for his career, or just 95 points short of becoming the second player in South River High School history to score 2,000 points in his career. To date this season, Whitaker is averaging 20.2 points per game so theoretically, he should accomplish the mark over the next five games if he remains healthy. A four year starter at South River, Whitaker scored 492 points as a freshman, 581 as a sophomore, 489 as a junior, and 343 so far his senior year.
Whitaker, who will play in his 100th career game according to NJ.com on Wednesday afternoon versus Bard, has compiled 453 field goals, 194 three pointers, and 408 free throws. In addition, he has collected 502 rebounds, 201 assists, and 187 steals. The South River senior has scored in double figures 89 times, or in approximately 90 percent of the games he has played in. Of those 89 double figure games, Whitaker has scored at least 20 points forty-two times, and at least 30 points ten times.
On January 7th of this year, Whitaker registered a career high 36 points in an 85-70 point victory over Keyport in South River. In the non-conference game, Whitaker tallied his 36 points on 12 field goals, 3 treys, and 3 from the foul line while also collecting 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists. Whitaker’s previous career high was 35 points in a 74-71 victory in overtime over Keansburg on February 8, 2017 in Keansburg. In that contest, Whitaker also had 12 field goals and 3 treys, but made just two from the foul line. He also added 6 rebounds, an assist and a block.
During his time at South River, the Rams have compiled an overall record of 60-39 including a 27-24 mark in GMC divisional play. During Whitaker’s freshman year at South River High School, the Rams played in the Gold Division of the Greater Middlesex Conference before moving up to the GMC Blue for the last three years. The Rams were 18-11 overall including an 11-5 mark in 2015-16, which ended in a Central Jersey Group I semifinal loss to Florence at home. So far this year, South River is 12-5 including a 6-4 mark in GMC Blue play. In addition, the Rams have scored important crossover victories against Sayreville (56-52) and North Brunswick (80-68) of the GMC White.
The Rams have scored at least 80 points in a game six times this season including three games that have been covered by GMC Hoops. All three of those games have ended in South River wins. The Rams have been covered by GMC Hoops five times, and have a 4-1 record in those games with the only loss coming to Bishop Ahr in North Edison on opening night (82-57). South River also finally has Mike DeSantis, Joey Nigro, and Zac Rafano in the line-up again after DeSantis was finally cleared to play nearly two weeks ago, and Nigro has recently returned from injury.
The only player in South River history to date to score 2,000 points is all time leading scorer, Deon Jackson, who scored 2,332 points in his career from 1987-1991. Jackson was also teammates with another 1,000 point scorer, Donny Smutko, who tallied 1,282 points to rank fourth on the all time scoring list at South River HS behind Jackson, Whitaker, and 2015 graduate Sean Darrar (1,432 points). Yours truly actually did see Deon Jackson play very early in his freshman year at South River in a game versus South Plainfield in December 1987 won by the Tigers, 63-60.
In addition to playing Bard on Wednesday at 4:30 PM, the Rams will host South Plainfield on Friday evening at 5:30 PM, travel to Carteret on Monday, February 4th for a 5:30 PM GMC Blue contest, visit J.F. Kennedy for a GMC Blue vs. White crossover on Tuesday, February 5th at 5:30 PM, and then come back home to host high scoring Sergio Rodriguez and Piscataway Tech on the eve of the GMCT seeding on Thursday, February 7th at 5:30 PM. Looking forward to seeing Derrick Whitaker making history over the next week.