The 2022-23 girls basketball season in Chatham County featured a breakout campaign by Seaforth sophomore Gabby White, who helped lead her team to the 2A state championship game. And in the months since the season ended, the 5-foot-10 guard has stayed busy in her pursuit of personal improvement.
Beginning last Thursday, White participated in the 2023 USA Women’s U16 National Team Trials in Colorado Springs along with 51 other athletes from around the country. On Tuesday (after press time), coaches selected their final 12 players to roster their team at the FIBA U16 Women’s Americas Championship from June 13-19 in Mérida, Mexico.
This was White’s first event with USA Basketball. After returning from Colorado on Monday, White told the News + Record the experience was unique, and she was grateful to compete.
“I definitely learned a lot about myself, but I also learned about the environment and about different players and how different players react and the things that they do,” White said. “It's an honor to get to play at that level with some of the highest-ranked girls and best coaches there to help me out along the way.”
The window for college coaches to start contacting White begins this summer, and there should be plenty of activity when it comes to scholarship offers. As a fit at either guard spot, White’s biggest strength is her playmaking on offense. She’s just as likely to make a tough shot as she is to throw a pinpoint skip pass to a teammate for an open look.
This past winter, White averaged 15.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.2 steals per game for Seaforth and scored at least 10 points in all 25 games she played in. She said she looks forward to speaking with coaches and the rest of the process once her recruiting window officially opens.
“I'm really excited and honored for the chance to make new relationships,” White said. “Regardless of what happens, I'm just going to come into it with a positive mindset.”
While she hasn’t had any contact with college coaches yet, White has a pretty good feeling for what’s expected at the next level and how it differs from high school. Her mom, Joanne Aluka-White, has been an assistant coach with the UNC-Chapel Hill’s women’s basketball team since 2019, and before that she spent seven years at Charlotte.
White has tagged along to several practices with her mom over the years, and said the USA trials offered a similar type of environment to what she’ll encounter at the next level.
"There were a lot of similarities,” White said. “Like having your own responsibilities, whether it was getting your laundry in on time or going to bed on time. You had to depend a lot on yourself and your teammates. I think it was a step toward the look of what I think college will be like. The places we stayed were also dorms, so that was similar. There were a lot of similarities."
When she returns to the court next year for Seaforth, White will be a junior and arguably the top returning player in all of Chatham County. In her first two seasons with the Hawks, she has totaled 823 points, 528 rebounds, 197 assists and 184 steals.
Despite the loaded stat sheet, White told the News + Record she still has plenty of room to improve.
"I'm really aggressive (on offense), so I really want to stick to that,” she said. “I also want to expand my range when it comes to shooting. And my leadership role, I really want to work on that so we can have freshmen coming in or players coming back that can really depend on me to help them with whatever they need."