Cody White had a dream that he would play basketball for the RDC Kings.
But coming up through high school he felt it was just that, a dream.
“Playing for Red Deer College was my number one goal, but I wasn’t sure I would make it,” said the 19-year-old Notre Dame grad. “But halfway through my Grade 12 year coach (Clayton Pottinger) contacted me and offered me a spot.”
Pottinger liked what he saw from the six-foot-one point guard.
“I first noticed him with our club team just before his Grade 11 season,” said Pottinger. “You could see he was a player with a excellent skill set and a high basketball IQ. He had a love and passion for the game so at that point he was on our radar.”
White played two years with the Kings club team and the Notre Dame Cougars which helped him develop into a premier player at the high school level.
But just because he came out of high school with high credentials it didn’t mean he would automatically step in as a starter at the college level. And he knew that.
“I didn’t expect a lot right away,” he said. “I grew up watching players like Lloyd Strickland and Matt Johnson and saw how they grew as players and I hope to follow in their footsteps.
“In high school everything seemed to go my way, but this is a lot tougher league and you have to fight and continue to improve … continue to work hard.”
Pottinger likes that about him.
“He’s a true student of the game and is willing to accept the role he’s in right now. The thing is he’s a true competitor. He goes up against Kai (Greene) and Ian (Tevis) in practice and doesn’t back down. I’m looking forward to the future.”
White is taking Business and will be at RDC for possibly all five years of his eligibility.
There’s also more struggles for a first-year player than just adapting to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
“One of the biggest things is to balance classes, home work and basketball,” said White.
“That takes some work. Plus on the court it’s maintaining your confidence. It’s definitely a new level and the defence you face is way better than high school or club. It’s not easy … you have to keep your confidence.
“For me it’s been easier in the second semester as I’m playing with more confidence.”
White showed that against SAIT when the Kings ran into injuries and foul problems and called on the rookie to play close to 19 minutes. He nailed his first three shots, which included two threes and finished with eight points, three assists and a steal.
“That was fun,” he said. “It was nice it happened at home.”
White is averaging just less than six minutes of playing time per game and one point per game.
“But I didn’t even expect that much,” he said. “But I love it. Clayton is a great coach and being with one of the top teams in the league is great. I’d rather sit and learn with this team than play a little more for a lesser team.”
White got into the game in Grade 4 and became serious about it in Grade 8. He was always a point guard as “I was one of the smaller kids.
“I grew eight inches in Grade 10, but stayed at point guard, which I love.”
It’s not an easy position to fit into as a rookie, but that’s just part of what White has to work on.
“Defence is key,” he said. “Playing defence at this level is a lot different than high school and it’s something coach stresses every day.”
Pottinger likes the fact White is a Red Deer product and hopes he’s just the beginning of a string of local players to make the Kings.
“Cody was a bit ahead of the game but we want to develop and grow local talent,” said Pottinger. “That are some good kids in the area.”
RDC has a tough weekend ahead of them as they host Lethbridge. The women tip off at 6 p.m. tonight and 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Kings sit at 9-4 with Lethbridge at 8-3. The Lethbridge women are 11-0 while the Queens are 5-8.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca.