Best-selling author Thomas Wolfe was wrong. You can go home again. Donald Whiteside's hardwood odyssey--with stops in Australia, Venezuela, Spain, Latvia, Leo High School, Toronto, Atlanta, the Czechoslovakian Republic, Rockford and Chicago--returned to Northern Illinois University in the spring of 2001 as he joined Rob Judson's staff as an assistant coach.
A member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, Northern Illinois University Athletics Department and most recently the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fames, Whiteside has made a smooth transition from professional competition to that of collegiate mentor. One of the greatest guards to parade the Cardinal and Black, Whiteside has helped tutor a number of outstanding guards in his four seasons at NIU, including Anthony Maestranzi, who broke his sophomore assist record with 113 dimes in 2003 and Cory Sims, who finished second all-time at NIU in single-season assists with 133 last season.
Perhaps there is no better ambassador for Northern Illinois to prospective student-athletes than Whiteside. A former prep standout in the Chicago Catholic League, Whiteside helped map out the path to academic and professional success during his time in DeKalb. Not only did Whiteside earn his bachelor's degree from NIU in communications, but his hard work on the court translated into a shot at professional stardom. A veteran of the National Basketball Association and American Basketball Association, Whiteside finished his collegiate career as the fifth-leading vote-getter on the Huskie All-Century Team and ranks sixth on the school's all-time assist list.
A First-Team All-Chicago Catholic League pick as a senior at Leo High School in 1986-87, he completed his professional playing career the summer of 2001 when the Chicago Skyliners fell to the Detroit Dogs, 107-91, in the ABA championship game at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, MO.
At Northern Illinois, Whiteside played a major role in the Huskies' record-setting 25-6 campaign by averaging 11.7 points and 35.1 minutes as a senior when Northern Illinois won the Mid-Continent Conference regular-season championship and earned an at-large berth against St. John's University in the 1991 NCAA Tournament. He lettered four times during 1987-91 and holds the school three-point records--single game (eight), season (78) and career (204).
Currently ranked No. 6 on the school's all-time assist list with 313 career dish-offs and No. 17 on the Northern Illinois scoring ladder with 1,155 career points in 100 appearances, Whiteside became the second Huskie male cager to record over 1,000 career points and 300 career assists after Rodney Davis (1,175 points and 332 assists in 1984-88).
His professional career took Whiteside and his love of the game to four continents and, of course, the ultimate dream--playing in the NBA.
Named Most Valuable Player of the Chicago Summer Pro-Am League that included Kendall Gill, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Stephon Marbury, Kevin Garnett, and Randy Brown in 1996, Whiteside received a call from Isiah Thomas, then-general manager of the Toronto Raptors. During 1996-97, Whiteside would average close to 3.0 ppg. in 27 games for the Raptors. The next winter, he played in three contests with the Atlanta Hawks.
Whiteside went back overseas to play again--spending 1997-98 in Opava in the Czechoslovakian Republic, 1998-99 in Caceras, Spain, and coming back with the CBA Rockford Lightning the same season.
The 36-year-old Whiteside received his bachelor of science degree in communications from NIU in 1994. He is married to the former Patrice Washington of Chicago. Patrice is a member of the NIU Human Resource Services Department. The couple has two children, daughter Reigna, age 11, and son, Donald Jr., age six.
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