The NHIAA's #1 ranked girls basketball prospect for the Class of 2012 has officially made her college decision. Souhegan High's Jane White has won a high school state championship, an AAU national championship, has been a first team all-state player. And now she has committed to continue her education and her basketball career at Bentley University, a Division II school in Massachusetts which plays in the highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.
White is a 5'5" point guard who can flat out score the basketball. She is an excellent shooter, and is very good at creating space with the dribble in order to get a shot off, with or without the use of a screen. She has explosive quickness which allows her to drive past her defender with ease and also push the ball in transition. White is a clutch player, as she carried Souhegan to a number of wins over the last couple years, including the 2011 D-II championship game when she hit the game winning three-pointer to beat Lebanon (sorry Raiders fans!). White is also an underrated passer and defender.
"I have had the pleasure of coaching Jane White for two very successful AAU seasons" said Dennis Reed, the head coach of the NE Shooting Stars team which won the Division II 15U National Championship in 2010. "That success is due in very large part to Jane's commitment to improvement, her leadership, discipline and laser like focus to being the best point guard on the floor against any opponent. Additionally, her on court "presence", her ability to recognize our opponents' weaknesses created untold scoring opportunities for our team. Her court vision has grown in concert with her uncanny passing ability. She is a true champion as a player, but more importantly as a person. She is an absolute joy to coach and will be missed."
Interview With Jane White
Jeremy Leveille: What other schools were you considering, and what factors ultimately made you choose Bentley?
Jane White: After going to visit 11 different schools and meeting with coaches at those schools, I was considering Wagner College, George Mason, UNH, Holy Family, SNHU, UMASS Lowell, Pace, and Bentley. I had 6 full scholarship offers to consider at the beginning of August. I ultimately chose Bentley after meeting with Coach Barbara Stevens and her assistant, Coach C. They are the epitome of a top notch coaching staff. Barbara Stevens is a legend and the NE-10 is a great division to play in. I started the recruiting process division-blind; was excited about getting DI offers but ultimately recognized the chance to compete for a NCAA championship and play close to home as well as be part of a great basketball tradition and get a solid education was all available to me at Bentley University. On my last unofficial visit to Bentley during their high school basketball camp, it was clear to me that this was going to be a good fit.
JL: How do you see yourself fitting in with their team, and have you talked with Christiana Bakolas about the school or the program at all?
JW: I truly respect the legacy of Coach Stevens and trust that she wouldn't be offering me a scholarship if she didn't see me as having a positive impact on the Bentley team. I have been told that they need a point guard and I am willing to work to prove that I can contribute. The athletes on the team seem like a close knit group and I am confident that I will fit in both on and off the court with this team. Christiana is someone whose career I have followed in NH. Coach Stevens told me that Christiana had been telling them about me! That really tells you something about the support I expect from upper class men. She is a great player who is battling back from her injury and truly an inspiration. She was there in the training room when I visited. She is very dedicated to the sport like myself.
JL: What do you plan on studying at Bentley?
JW: I will most likely go in undecided. I will probably at least go for a business minor as Bentley is a top business school.
JL: Any advice for younger players who are just beginning the recruiting process?
JW: First of all, believe in yourself. I was once told that their are a lot of small guards out there and I would need to separate myself from the pack. I've worked hard to improve my speed, agility and skills over the years and I was determined to work hard no matter what.Any player who aspires to play in college needs to have the work ethic to make a difference. My advice would be first to find a solid AAU team in the area with national exposure. I was very fortunate over the years to play for the NE Rockettes, the NH Flames, the Souhegan Sun and the NE Shooting Stars. The critical years are sophomore and junior years for participation in the high profile tournaments. I moved from teams when I felt I needed to be challenged more. In the end, I couldn't be happier than ending my AAU experience with the NE Shooting Stars. This is where I found a team put together more on chemistry than on talent. Because of that, we have had a very successful run, winning the DII National Championship last year and placing very high in all our tournaments this summer. For the younger player, it's important to look for a team where that chemistry can allow you to be successful and grow as an individual as well as a team mate. The other important thing for a younger player to know about the recruiting process is it's all about communication. Start by filling out the prospective athlete questionnaire on the college's website. Follow up with emails, detailing any news worthy accomplishments of just simply to check in. Plan a visit. All of this demonstrates your level of interest and puts you on the coach's radar. Most importantly, know that it is just not your basketball skills a coach will consider. Grades, behavior on and off the court and willingness to work hard on and off the court in college are so important. There is a school for just about anyone who wants to play at the next level. Fit is critical.
JL: What coaches have helped you get where you are today as a player?
JW: I can honestly say that each and everyone one of my AAU and school coaches have contributed to my basketball career. I had a fantastic coach in middle school, Steve Stitt, who taught us that basketball is more than a sport and we can learn so many life lessons playing it. He was absolutely right! In AAU, I have been so fortunate to have both Jeremy Faulkner and Dennis Reed to coach me during the critical times of my sophomore and junior years. Coach Reed was insistent on adding teammates who were a good match, personality-wise. While we have a lot of talented players, a college coach once told us that we may not be the most talented team in NE but we work together better than the rest. Team work starts with good chemistry off the court. I am thankful that he recognized that and now I have life long friends because of my Shooting Stars experience. Jeremy is also my high school coach. He pushes me, expects a lot out of me and gives me a ton of support to accomplish my goals. I couldn't have asked for a better bunch of coaches.
JL: Do you play any other sports at Souhegan or just Basketball?
JW: I played volleyball for a while and enjoyed it for the most part but decided to dedicate myself to conditioning and training at Top Fitness and the Sportszone as my off season allows.
JL: How much would it mean to you to win a second straight D-2 championship this winter with Souhegan as a senior, and what will it take to get that done?
JW: Achieving a second straight D-2 championship would be an amazing accomplishment for Souhegan. After last year's undefeated season, we know that we can expect fierce competition from those who want to beat SHS. We will have to be focused and determined to put in the work. The most important thing is to try to fill the void left by Christan (Wojtas) and Lauren (Cordts) but we have underclassmen who are ready to step up.
Congratulations to Jane, and best of luck at Bentley!