‘Coach on the floor’

Published 8:02pm Saturday, March 9, 2013

KFHS’ White a confident leader

King’s Fork senior point guard Akanni White was what head coach Josh Worrell described as “like a coach on the floor” this season.

The Bulldogs’ season ended on a disappointing note two Sundays ago at the Norfolk Scope Arena, but White worked hard to keep his team’s season alive in that game against Kecoughtan, earning a nomination for Player of the Week.

The Bulldogs faithful fans voted en masse to show their support one last time in the poll. While White won by a comfortable margin, he and teammate Donté Ralph received a combined total of 2,873 votes.

White came out aggressively against Kecoughtan with nine points in the first half of the regional semifinal to lead his team to a 27-21 lead at the break.

King’s Fork senior guard Akanni White matured into a leader and clutch ball handler for the Bulldogs this season. He was driven to help the team succeed up until the very end and won the final Player of the Week honor for the winter sports season.
King’s Fork senior guard Akanni White matured into a leader and clutch ball handler for the Bulldogs this season. He was driven to help the team succeed up until the very end and won the final Player of the Week honor for the winter sports season.

“I had confidence in my team,” White said. “During the game, I never thought I would have been walking off, and we’d have been losing, taking my jersey off for the last time. So, during the game, I was like, ‘I’ve got to do everything I can to help us win.’”

“He brings a lot of confidence on the floor with the basketball, being a leader of what we try to do offensively and defensively,” Worrell said of White. “(He) stepped up big for us in some games and played hard all the time and didn’t have to ask anything for that. He was just a really big asset for us.”

Reflecting on his high school career, White thought briefly about what could have been.

“I’m sad it’s over, because it didn’t end today,” he said on Friday.

Friday was the day of the state championship game in which Henrico High School ended up defeating John Marshall High School, 72-48.

“If we would have won that (Kecoughtan) game, we would have been playing tonight,” White said.

But White did not dwell long on the past.

“It’s a chapter, I wanted it to go one way, but God wanted it to go another,” he said. “So, it’s time to go on to the next level. I can’t do anything about the Scope, about Kecoughtan.”

He expressed gratitude to Coach Worrell, because “he helped me a lot for me to become who I am.”

“I think, out of the group we had this year, I might have been the one to bump heads with Coach Worrell the most, not as far as trouble, but just as far as our relationship,” he said. “We have a great relationship. I’ve been through ups and downs. He’s been mad at me, I’ve been mad at him — you know it’s like that with a coach. There were times when I needed him, and he was there for me. He helped me mature. I was here four years. I’m glad he was here, and I’m glad things worked out for me to come here and be his student-athlete and (for him to) be my coach.”

White’s high school legacy as a basketball player is quite a twist from what it appeared to be when he was 7 years old.

“I loved football,” he said. “My grandparents thought I was going to chase the football dream, play football all my life.”

He got interested in basketball by watching the play of his older brother, Nykee White. Akanni did not get to play much in seventh grade, but that changed in eighth grade.

“My mom always told me, ‘Nobody can make you or break you. Don’t let anybody tell you what you can do and what you can’t do,’” he said.

He and his father “used to work out every day, and we still do. Practice makes perfect, but it makes permanent. That’s just how I feel about it.”

White hopes to play basketball at the college level and get a free education to remove any financial burden from his family and enable him to provide for them in the future.

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