Woodbury girls basketball: White picks Vermont
Kristina White said from the moment she picked up a basketball, she wanted to go Division 1.
That dream has officially come true.
White, an All-State guard and multiple-record holder for Woodbury, has committed to play Division 1 basketball for the Vermont Catamounts next year.
"Division I basketball has always been my dream," White said. "I feel accomplished, like all my hard work has paid off. It's a great feeling knowing where I'll be going to college. I'm really excited to move on to that next chapter of my life and I'm extremely thankful."
As a junior, the 5'8" White led Woodbury in scoring last season with a 19.6 points per game average. She also had a team-high 5.1 assists per game and 4.7 steals per game - which was a school record. She reached the 1,000 career point mark early in the 2011-12 season and currently is Woodbury's seventh leading scorer all-time with 1,112 career points. White is also a standout for the Royals' soccer team.
Woodbury first-year head coach Nathan McGuire hasn't had a chance to coach White yet, but has met with her and watched her play on multiple occasions.
"She just has a presence about her," McGuire said. "She's a born leader. She leads by example. You can just tell she knows how to handle herself and people look up to her."
McGuire said Vermont is getting a heck of a player in White.
"I think Vermont did a great job getter her and she's going to be a great scorer for them," he said. "I know Kristina is just ecstatic to be going out there."
White said she is "very excited" about Vermont.
"They have a top-notch coaching staff and really care about their players," White said. "They were just amazingly nice. The players just made me feel like part of the team already. They have a great academic program. I enjoy the medical field and science and that's what they're known for."
White made her official visit to Vermont in early September.
"It's a beautiful location," she said. "Lake Champlain is two miles from campus and mountains surround the area."
White said the coaches at Vermont stood out to her.
Vermont's head coach is Lori Gear McBride, who won an NCAA National Championship as a member of the University of North Carolina in 1994. In addition, Vermont assistant coach Courtnay Pilypaitis is a former guard for the Catamounts and recently played for Canada in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The 2012-13 season marks Gear McBride's third season at the helm Catamounts women's basketball program. Gear McBride was a shooting guard for the Tar Heels - the spot White said her new coach thinks she will play.
"She is awesome," White said of Gear McBride. "I can't even explain how much I like her. She called me through the entire recruiting process. She is so nice and so easy to talk to."
Vermont finished the 2011-12 season with a 10-20 mark. This winter, Vermont returns its top five scorers from last season. Among the returning players are America East All-Defensive Team performer Shanai Heber and two America East All-Rookie selections in Tierra Shumpert and Niki Taylor. The Catamounts also added four newcomers, including Gracia Hutson from Wayzata, to the program this past year.
"(Hutson) went to Hopkins and played on my summer team the year before me, so I knew of her," White said. "But, during my visit I stayed with her and we just clicked instantly. I felt like I knew her forever."
Vermont opens the 2012-13 campaign at Marist, the defending MAAC Champions, on Nov. 9 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Vermont welcomes Columbia in its home opener on Nov. 11 at Patrick Gymnasium.
White said she'll definitely be following the team this winter, while finishing her prep career for the Royals.
White said she is looking forward to her final season for the Royals, saying it will be bittersweet. But, when asked if she sad about leaving Woodbury and if she was nervous about going so far away from Minnesota for her college career, White shrugged it off.
"Not really," she said. "I'm actually very anxious to get out there."