Success on the court has always accompanied the illustrious career of Providence Day basketball star Jatarie White – both on a personal and team level. And reaping the benefits of it is nothing new to her.
Still, while White will certainly go down as one of the Chargers’ most decorated sports stars, the recognition she receives is still humbling despite all she’s accomplished – and that list is long.
A 6-foot-4 center, White has helped the Chargers win four consecutive private-school state championships – going 111-15 during her high school career – including this season when she averaged a career-best 21.4 points along with 8.7 rebounds for a team that went 27-3. White set her career best field-goal percentage mark (57 percent) this year and also recorded the most assists in her career.
And, as has been the case for White since she first stepped on the court, the awards followed.
White is the a four-time all N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association all-state performer, has won a gold medal for Team USA, is a member of the prestigious 2,000-point club, is the two-time N.C Gatorade Player of the Year, was last season’s Associated Press N.C. Player of the Year, is the first Charger to play in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American game and for the second straight season is the Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s South Charlotte Weekly’s Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
So to say she’s accomplished a lot is obviously an understatement.
“I know how special it is now and it’s sort of like ‘Wow, all this stuff is happening to me,”’ White said. “It means a lot right now, my friends will say things like ‘Jatarie, you got another award,’ and sometimes I don’t even know what it is. I think when I get older I’m going to realize just how special it all is, but it already means a lot to me.”
And each year and with each ensuing state title, White said she can’t look back on any one more fondly than the others, but she’s had a big hand in each of them. This year, in the Chargers’ two–point win over Rabun Gap in the semi-finals, it was White’s tip in to beat the buzzer that sent her team to the title game. But, true to her humble nature, she isn’t willing to take the majority of the credit.
“I feel like I was just a part of a great organization,” she said. “I was able to contribute and get my team involved and Coach (Josh) Springer taught us that it’s never going to be handed to us, that we have to work for it. I think we’ve done a really good job all four years of pushing to go out even harder than we did before, and that’s something that I’m really proud of.”
With a near-flawless high school career all but wrapped up – she’ll play in the McDonald’s All-American game at Chicago’s United Center on April 2 – White is excited to begin the next chapter in her life, which will be at the University of South Carolina, where she signed to coach Dawn Staley’s team as the nation’s No. 7 prospect according to ESPN.
“I’m sort of anxious,” White said. “I think I’m going to be ready for it, but at times I think ‘What if I’m not as good as I think that I am?’ I’m excited to see my impact on the team and how coach (Staley) will use me in her plan. I’m excited to be a new player and see how coach will push me to limits like I was never pushed before, and see how it turns out.”
If her high school career is any indication, things will work out just fine for White, who leaves Providence Day on the short list of Mecklenburg County’s best high school girls players to ever step on the court.
With all that she’s done and all of the achievements she’s garnered, White said it’s not just about her, it’s also about her teammates, family, friends and coaches who have supported her every step of the
“I have a lot of support from all around me,” she said. “A lot of people that I don’t even know are rooting for me. It’s really cool to think that some of the people behind the scenes are rooting for me and are proud of what I’m doing and proud of where I’m going. I’m really appreciative.”