Following an in-home visit from Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Vic Shaefer, St. Martin star junior Daphane White has decided where she wants to go to college.
White committed to MSU Wednesday night during a visit from Schaefer, whose team is 29-4 and ranked No. 7 in the nation.
“She ended up committing on the spot,” St. Martin coach Gina Bell said. “They’ve been on her for the last year and coach Shaefer has been to a couple of games. He missed practice for the first time in his career to watch when we played East Central.”
White said she didn’t plan to commit ahead of time, but she felt at ease during Shaefer’s visit on Wednesday. When she told the coach she wanted to commit, an elated Schaefer gave her a hug.
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“I was talking to him and he just made me feel comfortable with him,” White said. “I just felt like being out of high school, I’d be taken care of.”
The 6-foot-3 White has been a dominant force in the paint the last two seasons for the Lady Yellow Jackets. She averaged 22.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 7.0 blocks a game this season for a team that finished 18-12.
LSU, South Alabama and Arkansas-Little Rock are some of the other schools who have shown a lot of interest in White.
MSU was the most aggressive in recruiting White.
“They’ve been calling me and texting me on Instagram,” White said.
Bell believes the decision to go ahead and commit early will help her during her senior campaign.
“Her senior year, she’ll really be able to enjoy basketball,” Bell said. “She doesn’t have to worry about who is watching her. This is it. This is her last year to have fun playing basketball. She’s going to have to play for the love of the game.”
White improved most on the offensive end as a junior after averaging 11.7 points, 13.6 rebounds and 8.8 blocks as a sophomore.
“I think I got more aggressive and went up for more contact,” she said. “I was going up strong.”
St. Martin had to rely more on White this season following the graduation of Savannah Jones, a guard/forward who is now at South Alabama, and Deona Morgan after the 2015-16 season.
“She got stronger. We put the brunt of our offense on (White’s) shoulders,” Bell said. “She worked harder and the biggest part is she gained confidence.”
The next step for White will be putting in the work to qualify academically to join the MSU program for the 2018-19 school year.
MSU has been very active in recruiting the Coast. Sophomore point guard Jazzmun Holmes is a former Harrison Central standout and West Harrison’s Ameshya Williams is a freshman forward for the Lady Bulldogs.
White went to Gulfport her freshman season before transferring to St. Martin prior to her sophomore year.
“When she walked in the door, I told her ‘You are our missing piece,’” Bell said. “We had Savannah and Deona. We had good kids at the guards. What we were missing was a legit big.”