Given the success of the Lady Bulldogs over the last few years, it’s hard to believe John Stroud has only his first player to move on to the collegiate ranks.
Porche White played an instrumental part in New Albany’s championship run over the last three years, guiding the offense at point guard. Thanks to her academic talents, she received a scholarship to Mississippi College, where she is also a member of the Choctaws’ basketball team, but it took some time before she knew she wanted to play at the next level.
“At first I was debating on whether I wanted to play or not, but then they contacted me and asked if I wanted to play,” she said. “I toured the college and decided that I liked it and wanted to go there.”
While she now loves the college experience as well as her new team, White was not shy to admit she was homesick for the first few weeks, but her trips back home are beginning to lessen as the season approaches.
“I love my new teammates; they’re awesome,” she said. “When we’re all out running at five in the morning, they’re cheering for you and pushing you, and the older girls are really nice and encouraging.”
“Practices have been really tough. We do a lot of the same things, it’s just a lot more intense and doubled what we did in high school. It’s really hard.”
The time spent conditioning with the team was almost enough for her to take a step back and focus solely on academics, but fighting through the mental aspect, White now has a goal and hopes to see playing time on a young MC squad.
“I thought about it, but I would never quit. I’m getting through it now,” she said.
“I didn’t think I could at first because conditioning was very tough, but I’m getting there. It’s all mental.”
“With hard work, yes, I’m expecting to see a few minutes in the game, but we’re all freshmen with a few upper classmen, so we’re a young team and I think a lot of us will see playing time.”
The first step for White is earning a spot on the 15 person traveling squad. If that is accomplished, her former head coach said he will be there to watch his former star when the Choctaws play at Rhodes College on Nov. 22.
“It’s good for your program to have players to go on and play college basketball, and I’m proud of Porche because she had a great career here and she was instrumental in us winning 88 games in three years and a state championship,” Stroud said.
“With the point guard, it’s pretty much a coach on the floor, so she’s the ultimate point guard; looks to pass and play defense, getting the ball to the right people. She’ll be hard to replace because of her skills and leadership, and I’m very proud of her.”
White and the Choctaws will open their 2011-2012 campaign on Nov. 9, playing Jackson State in exhibition.