Loading...
Bless our hearts as Edmund Burke quoted: The only thing necessary for the triump of evil is for good men(and women) to...

UNC superstar has Pitt County bloodline

ACC Duke North Carolina Basketball-1
1 of 5

North Carolina's Coby White (2) drives to the basket against Duke's Zion Williamson (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Loading…

BY NATHAN SUMMERS
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The gem that is Pitt County basketball seems to have limitless facets, casting gleam in every direction at the moment, even on one of the game’s biggest stages.

The Wednesday morning before March Madness begins is an annual day of anticipation that college hoops fans would probably prefer to just skip in order to get to those two marathon days of NCAA tournament bliss on Thursday and Friday, which then spill into a weekend also filled to the rim with hoops.

ESPN, naturally, was cashing in on that last full day of hype earlier this week, running a panel segment on SportsCenter to address this question: Who would you most want on your team for a March Madness run, excluding Duke's now global megastar, Zion Williamson?

Pitt County’s basketball roots were in the answer, the same county that last weekend crowned two more high school state champions.

The first person named by the experts was UNC's electric and acrobatic guard Coby White, whose late father was a Greenville hoops fixture during another era of local high school hardwood greatness in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Donald ‘Doc’ White starred first at G.R. Whitfield High School before transferring to Stokes-Pactolus as a senior and becoming one of the first black athletes in the county to make such a move for athletics. He went on to play at N.C. Central.

Although Doc White’s youngest son has reached one of the game’s pinnacles as a mere college freshman — Coby White’s top-seeded Tar Heels take on Washington today in the second round of the NCAA tournament — his dad has been gone a few years now, and the loss is felt by everyone in the family to this day.

“He was amazing. Unbelievable,” said Greenville native and resident Swanza Deluze, the sister of Doc White, who remembers her brother not only as an athlete but also as the father and mentor. Doc White shaped the personality and game of his now superstar son, whose full name is Alec Jacoby White. and who was born and raised in Goldsboro and later attended Greenfield School in Wilson.

Doc White relocated from Pitt County to Goldsboro in 1991 following the passing of his wife’s mother. A manufacturing technician, the elder White eventually retired from Reynolds in Kinston.

According to Deluze, his son has simply grown into a whole new version of his dad.

“My brother was an outstanding basketball player and when I see Jacoby play now, I see so much of my brother in him,” she said. “He could shoot, he could run and was fast like Jacoby. And there were three of them at that time, and they were all three competitors from different areas of the county — my brother, Donald White (Stokes), Ed Stokes (Bethel) and William Shivar (Belvoir).”

Deluze remembers when her brother was being courted by the basketball coach at Stokes to transfer from Whitfield his senior year.

“He talked about it with my parents and said, ‘Sure, I’ll go,’ and he played for them and had a phenomenal year,” Deluze said, adding she still has vivid memories of her brother’s basketball beginnings in the yard. “The coach at the time was very interested, and he was the first black kid to have ever done anything like that in Pitt County. So it was kind of big. He managed to up his game to the point that everybody knew him.”

White lost his second battle with cancer in 2015, and his youngest son has been open about using his bond with his father, and the loss of him, as constant motivation in his rise to stardom. He started and still uses the social media hashtag #FMF, which means “For my father.”

The younger White already has laid claim to superstar status in the game. Even the story of his father’s death drew some national media attention because at the time, Coby White was a top prep recruit poised to make his college decision. This week in the buildup to UNC’s Friday tournament tip-off against Iona, CBS revisited the story of the bond between the late father and his son.

Members of the tight-knit White family witnessed that relationship up close.

“All they had to do was look at each other, and you could see the love in their faces,” Deluze said. “He felt that way about all of his children, but one thing that keeps coming back to me is at the free throw line, there was one thing that his dad always told him: ‘One motion,’ and he just locked that into his mind because of his father. It always takes Jacoby back to where he needs to be when he may not be having a good night at the free throw line.

“All of the things that you see Coby doing, my brother taught him the basics of it.”

The family has enjoyed plenty of success in and out of sports. Doc White’s daughter, Tia White, is an executive director of technology for a financial firm and was featured in a Forbes.com story about powerful women overcoming adversity. He has two other sons, Greenville resident Shawn Rogers and William R. White, who is a graduate student and grad assistant coach under Wes Miller at UNC Greensboro.

Coby’s White’s dazzling rookie season in Chapel Hill so far has included starts in all 33 games. He entered the tournament second on the team in scoring and was a second team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. Earlier this month against Boston College, he surpassed Michael Jordan on the Tar Heels' all-time freshman scoring list.

Before even arriving in Chapel Hill, however, White was named North Carolina Mr. Basketball, was a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year for N.C. and also the Associated Press Player of the Year after becoming the state's all-time leading prep scorer at Greenfield School, where he averaged two assists shy of a triple-double as a senior.

After that, he played in the McDonald's All-American Game, then was named to the all-tournament team after leading the United States U18 squad to a gold medal at the FIBA Under-18 Americas Championship in Canada.

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Sports

July 18, 2019

NEWPORT, R.I. — In the lead spot to start at quarterback for American Athletic Conference preseason favorite UCF is senior Notre Dame transfer Brandon Winbush.

Veteran QBs at Memphis (Brady White) and South Florida (Blake Barnett) both were at Arizona State earlier in their careers. Barnett,…

101418ECUfootball-12.jpg

July 18, 2019

NEWPORT, R.I.

East Carolina was picked fifth in the American Athletic Conference football East Division for the second straight year in the league preseason poll, but more important than the poll’s release Tuesday during AAC media days was the confident and persistent presence of ECU…

021418ECUbasketball-7.JPG.JPG

July 17, 2019

NEWPORT, R.I. — Coach Mike Houston remains optimistic yet not in position to announce whether or not Traveon Freshwater will be on East Carolina football’s roster for this season.

The former Elizabeth City Northeastern High School star running back and linebacker signed with ECU in…

081818Footballrecruits-2.jpg.jpg

July 16, 2019

NEWPORT, R.I. — Mike Houston has been in this position before, bracing to prove doubters wrong.

It began with his first head coaching job in 2001 at T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, when his team was picked in the preseason eighth out of nine teams but thrived during the season to take…

IMG_2422 (1).jpg

July 16, 2019

NEWPORT, R.I. — Standing in front of American Athletic Conference “Power Six” logos on Tuesday, conference commissioner Mike Aresco was persistent that he thinks the American is strong enough to not immediately replace Connecticut when the Huskies leave for the Big East.

Aresco…

IMG_2415 (1).jpg

July 16, 2019

NEWPORT, R.I. — East Carolina athletics director Jon Gilbert found time to put on a swimsuit by mid-afternoon Monday, and ECU football coach Mike Houston sneaked in advice to Pirate receiver Deondre Farrier on the proper cracker-to-oyster ratio when Houston was between interviews at American…

IMG_2404 2 6.18.29 PM.jpg

July 15, 2019

NEWPORT, R.I. — East Carolina is at American Athletic Conference football media days, equipped with first-year coach Mike Houston, first-year athletics director Jon Gilbert and senior receiver Deondre Farrier in his first visit to Newport.

Aside from veteran media relations director Tom…

IMG_2388 2 (1).jpg

July 15, 2019

A trio of first-year American Athletic Conference football coaches, including East Carolina's Mike Houston, heads to Newport, R.I., today for a first taste of seafood, interviews and more at AAC media days.

The other two newcomers are Temple's Rod Carey and Dana Holgorsen after his offseason…

120518ECUFootballHouston-1.jpg

July 14, 2019

The Minges Coliseum court is in under renovation as East Carolina’s basketball coaches also are working to reconstruct their teams that will play this year on a new-look Minges paint scheme.

Fresh from checking out a recent workout of men’s coach Joe Dooley’s squad, which this…

062619fantasycamp-10.jpg

July 13, 2019

Many East Carolina football fans know what Holton Ahlers will be doing in August and the ensuing months as the Pirates’ sophomore projected starting quarterback.

Others fans might have noticed the Greenville native was an ardent ECU baseball fan in June, but in July, he and other Pirate…

033119ECUFootball-2.jpg.jpg
328 stories in Sports. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 33
        Next Page»   Last Page»