Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's Jahidi-Ho(ya); White Picks Georgetown

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's Jahidi-Ho(ya); White Picks Georgetown

Article excerpt

Jahidi White walked into the library at Cardinal Ritter High School on Monday afternoon, waded through a pond of people and sat his 6-foot-10, 265-pound body at a table behind a collection of microphones.

A sign behind him instructed library patrons: SILENCE!

No one had to tell the gathered throng. They had waited months for White, regarded as one of the nation's top high school basketball players, to decide where he would play his college ball. Almost two dozen media representatives, his coaches, his teary-eyed mother, his solid-as-a-rock father, his teammates . . .

All looked at White, then at the table in front of him. The hats of Kansas, Nevada-Las Vegas, St. Louis U., Michigan and Georgetown and a sign representing Temple reflected White's choices.

He looked at the hats. He rubbed his big hands up and down over his face and the top of his head. He started to lean in toward the middle hat, the hat of the St. Louis University Billikens.

Then, White stretched to his right and put the Georgetown Hoyas cap atop his head.

The small crowd of his friends erupted with applause and screams. "He's going to be very, very wealthy," one of his teammates whispered. White accepted the hugs and back-pats from all around; a smooch of his mother's red lipstick lingered minutes later as he made the decision official by signing his letter of intent to attend Georgetown.

White explained his choice: "I knew coach (John) Thompson had developed a lot of players, good players, who had made it to the big time. . . . My visit at Georgetown was much different from the others. The other schools showed you a fun time, a good time, the parties. Georgetown showed you what was real."

No one could have quibbled with White's reasons nor the organized process that led him to the decision.

His father, Jenkins White, said: "Me personally, I would have picked Georgetown. It was Jahidi's decision, but I think with him and me and his mother, it was unanimous."

Unanimous, but not easy.

"Jahidi is getting ready to make the biggest decision of his life," Ritter coach Preston Thomas had said moments earlier. "When he says where he's going, we'll all find out at the same time."

White wasn't going to simply announce his college choice. He actually was making his decision, right then and there. White said the pause to look at the hats and the agonized head-rubbing wasn't for show. He said he wasn't just mugging for the cameras.

"To tell you the truth, I almost did reach for the St. Louis U. cap," White said. "I was watching TV last night and I heard what they were saying on there about me, that I had decided on one certain school, and I was laughing. I didn't know."

He didn't decide on Georgetown until the last split second. None of the college coaches involved knew yet.

His coach didn't know. "I was pretty anxious to find out," Thomas said. …

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