By: Ethan Fuller
BOSTON, MA — Boston University men’s basketball enters the season with 11 returnees from last year’s roster. But one player — sophomore swingman Walter Whyte — will be seeing his first college action in over a year.
Whyte missed all of 2018-19 due to complications from a bone bruise in his ankle. The 6’6″ wing will take the court fully healthy for the first time since the 2018 Patriot League Semifinals.
“There were some setbacks here and there,” Whyte said Friday, “but once we figured out what the main issue was, the doctors went in and cleaned it up, and since then, no issues.”
The rehabilitation process was tedious, but Whyte noted that staying focused and committed sped up his recovery.
“I’m in (the gym) every day, I’m taking it seriously, I’m doing everything I need to do,” he said. “That was kind of my mindset going into it.”
BU’s August trip to Spain proved extremely valuable for Whyte, who averaged 12.3 points across the four exhibition games. The contests helped him “get back into the swing of things” ahead of the collegiate season.
“That was good just to get my feet wet, to play up and down, to just play with my teammates again and get the feel of the game,” Whyte said.
Spain also offered Whyte his first chance to play collegiately with sophomore teammate Jonas Harper. Whyte and Harper have a long history: both are Connecticut natives, both played on the same AAU team, and both played high school basketball at St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, CT.
“We just kind of put it all back together, how things used to be,” Whyte said. “We’ve been together for a long time.”
The 6’6″ wing rejoins the Terriers one year removed from a productive freshman season. Whyte notched a solid 9.3 points and five rebounds per game in 2017-18, earning him a spot on the Patriot League All-Rookie Team. Whyte also shot the ball efficiently, managing a 48.1 percent clip from the field while knocking down 37 percent of his three-pointers.
That three-point shot will come in handy for a BU team that converted 34.6 percent of their long range attempts as a team last year.
“Me being out for a long time, the only thing I could do was shoot for a long time,” the 21-year-old said. “That was beneficial for me; I feel like my shot got a lot better and my mechanics got a lot better. The more reps, the more time to get better — and the results show it.”
For the first month, Whyte wants to focus on regaining his confidence as he reacclimates to college ball. He understands that getting comfortable will not be instantaneous.
“I’m just staying patient and continuing to work hard, and the rest will work itself out,” he stated.
Fortunately, Whyte believes team chemistry is already high. Between traveling and playing together in Spain and bonding during the offseason, he called this year’s Terriers “the closest we’ve ever been.”
“All we do is hang out with each other,” Whyte said. “We talk all the time. I think this is a very close-knit team.”
Boston University kicks off the basketball season in just over one month. The team faces off against rival Northeastern University in an opening night rematch. BU will look for a successful repeat after taking down the Huskies in a 77-74 victory last November.
Featured image by Greg Levinsky.