The chant “Rock chalk, Jayhawk, KU!” will be a familiar sound to Chester native Andrew White come next fall, as he will be on the campus of Kansas University gearing up for basketball season. The age old chant is nearly as old as the school, which was founded back in 1866. White verbally committed to Kansas University two Fridays ago, and understandably is still full of excitement over the decision and to be a part of such a storied and successful basketball program.
“Kansas really stood out to me,” said White. “If I’m ready, there will be an opportunity to compete for minutes early- and a chance to win a national championship,” he stated. “I’m proud to be a Jayhawk.”
White, who has been playing basketball since the age of five starting off in the Chester YMCA league, has come leaps and bounds to get to where he is today, one of the most sought after and top recruits in the entire nation. Averaging 22 points and eight rebounds a game last season, White began to realize that playing at a major program was a possibility this summer.
“I never really imagined this to happen this way,” said White. “But after my first tournament this summer, I realized that it was a growing possibility.”
Father and mother, Andrew White Jr. and Sheryl have been longtime residents of Chester and don’t plan on moving despite the 1,133 mile trek that by interstate would take you through two other famed basketball towns in Lexington and Louisville, and the gateway to the west in St. Louis. A well known family in the tri-cities community, Andrew’s grandfather, Andrew White Sr. recently retired as pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Petersburg after 52 years in the pulpit.
“It’s quite a distance out there,” said White Jr. “Despite it, I plan on getting to four or five games next season.”
Younger brother Andrien White, a freshman guard, is coming off the bench for Thomas Dale this season under head coach Eddie Goss, where Andrew began his high school career. A transfer after his junior season to the Miller School in Charlottesville allowed him to ‘reclass’ or get acclimated to private school life by repeating a year of school. Since, he has played under head coach Steve Willard and it was a move that White Jr. felt would help a young Andrew to mature.
“The Miller School is set up a lot like a college is,” said Willard.
“It’s a boarding school, so students remain on campus, and they have more access to gyms and libraries,” he continued. “It can really help students to maintain focus.”
The program at Kansas in itself is storied and historical. The program won their first National Championship in 1952 with star player Clyde Lovellette. Another notable alum is Wilt Chamberlain, who was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history and is the only player to ever score 100 points in a game. Moving forward through time, some may remember Danny Manning, who is now an assistant coach at Kansas for his long career in the NBA and for being a member of Kansas 1988 National Championship team. Most recently, fans may remember Paul Pierce, who currently plays for the Boston Celtics and scored his 20,000th point last season, winning an NBA championship in 2008. 2008 was also a notable year for Kansas, as they won their last National Championship under current head coach Bill Self, defeating Memphis 75-68 in overtime to do so.
“Kansas is so rich in history, and they get a lot of support,” said White. “Now it’s time to get myself ready to contribute as a freshman.”
It appears that White will have all the support he needs from his family, the community and the staff at Kansas to succeed, but his respect for the hard work he put in is credited to his father.
“I appreciate each accomplishment more and more,” said White. “I know how hard I have worked to get here and I know how much work there is ahead,” he continued. “My dad really helped me to realize my true potential.”
White is having a great year so far at the Miller School this season, as the team is 5-1 at press time, where the senior is averaging 17.4 points per game according to maxpreps.com. Miller will be heading off to Kansas next fall, and next season you’ll be able to catch him on ESPN.
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