White is preferred at Campbell

Published 8:59 pm Saturday, August 10, 2013

Akanni White recently graduated from King’s Fork High School after a strong senior basketball season, but he did not seem to draw much interest from college coaches during his time in high school.

Then, White released a highlight film on YouTube, and it came to the attention of Campbell University, a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I school in Buies Creek, N.C.

Akanni White

Akanni White

“The whole coaching staff sat down and watched the video a couple times,” White said.

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He had already been accepted to Campbell as a student in the spring, but then the basketball program opened its arms to him.

Bulldogs coach Josh Worrell said Campbell declared White a “preferred walk-on,” and White could have the opportunity to earn a scholarship with the school while he is there.

“It’s just a dream come true,” White said. “This is what every basketball player dreams of.”

While many freshmen, particularly at a Division I school, will sit most of the year except for during blowouts, Worrell said a coach at Campbell told him regarding White, “‘I’m going to need him to play some minutes.’”

When White found out about this, he said, “It just makes me work that much harder.”

His mother, Sheila White said her reaction to the news was to be “thankful, grateful, excited. I always knew Akanni had it in him; it was just a matter of the door opening for him.”

Teddy White, his father, said Akanni has worked hard through the years.

“You have to do the job if you want to get somewhere,” he said. “So, overall, I’m real pleased, I’m real excited.”

Though basketball season ended in February, White has been busy, continuing to work out and hone his skills. Worrell said White is a hard-working gym rat.

In terms of what White will bring to the Fighting Camels, Worrell said he is not flashy, but crafty.

“He takes care of the basketball very well,” he said.

He also has demonstrated the coach-ability the Campbell staff will appreciate at the point guard position.

“He listens very well,” Worrell said. “He does what he’s asked to do.”

White will head to the school next weekend, but he has visited it previously and said he feels like it is a place he would want to stay for four years and “it’s not too far from home.”

His family is already making travel plans for home games at the school, which is about two and a half to three hour away.

“We’re planning on being there for every home game and as many away games as we can,” Sheila White said.

Another perk is that Akanni White will be within an hour of his grandmother, who lives in Raleigh.

White already has begun to create motivators to push himself while playing at the college level. Campbell asked White what jersey number he would like, and he chose 13, because it is the same his mother wore in middle and high school.

“I just want to honor that number in a good way,” White said.

His mother said, “That means the world to me. He’s made my day with that.”

White’s older brother Ny’Kee White, who plays at Fisher College in Boston, said despite Akanni’s delay in hearing from colleges, he was not shocked by his little brother’s basketball destiny “because I always knew he could do it.”

Former King’s Fork and current Marquette University star Davante Gardner counts White as like a little brother and said when he found out the news, “I was excited for him.”

White’s highlight reel was made up of the two regional tournament games at the Norfolk Scope Arena this year, as well as the district tournament win against Nansemond River High School.