A number of great basketball players have passed through Harvard-Westlake School in southern California. But even the 6-foot-10 Collins twins, who attended Stanford after Harvard-Westlake and now both play in the NBA, failed to complete the feat that Yale recruit Ed White can lay claim to after his prep basketball career.
White led his team to four straight Southern Sectional Championships. No other player in school history has managed the same.
Yale head coach James Jones describes the 6-foot-4 White as a combination guard who can play either the point or shooting guard position.
“He’s got pretty good ball skills,” Jones said. “[He is a] very good outside shooter. [White] does all the ‘right’ things.”
Someone who can do both of those things will certainly have a chance to contribute to the Bulldogs. The Elis will graduate starting point guard Alex Gamboa ’05 and first-team all-Ivy shooting guard Edwin Draughan ’05. Jones expects White to help fill those holes, but indicated that no one should expect him to be a replacement for Draughan — one of the few players in the league who could truly create his own shot.
“There’ll be room for Ed to come in and play,” Jones said. “He handles the ball, and that’s something the team will need with the loss of Edwin and Alex. [White] doesn’t really create his own shot; he is a catch-and-shoot guy.”
White seems to see himself in a similar role. He said he aspires to play in a style like that of Duke’s J.J. Redick.
“[He is a] shooter who handles the ball and gets to the basket as well,” White said.
He also is aware of the possibility of making a significant contribution as a freshman.
“I really related to the coaching staff,” White said of his decision to attend Yale. “I thought they were really personable guys and really professional in the way they handled things. I thought there was a good opportunity to play some minutes next year with the senior guards leaving.”
Jones said that White’s defense is what will need to improve the most for college-level basketball.
“Keeping people in front of him,” Jones said. “He’s not the most athletic kid on our team, so he’ll have to make sure he’s smart defensively.”
That shouldn’t be a problem for White, who spent a career at Harvard-Westlake doing the things the Wolverines needed to win, without receiving the kind of attention some of his school’s alumni have received.
Dinos Trigonis publishes Full Court Press, which covers — in its own words — Southern California’s high school basketball scene.
“Ed [White] has proved to be a consistent winner and the consummate team player,” Trigonis wrote in one report on the site. “[White is] a talented scorer, [who] has often sacrificed his own personal stats for the team, stepping in to [Harvard-Westlake’s] point-guard void as a junior and being extremely unselfish as a senior, leading the Wolverines to their best regular-season record since the Collins-twins era. Ever since he hit the game-winning shot against San Diego Horizon during a state playoff game as a freshman, White has been a integral factor in [Harvard-Westlake’s] playoff success the last four years.”
White’s successes have not gone altogether unnoticed, however. Following in the footsteps of the Collins twins, White was selected for the John R. Wooden High School Player of the Year Award. On April 9, he received that award along with the winners from the other high school divisions, collegiate Player of the Year Andrew Bogut and the collegiate All-American team.
“What separates Ed from other players is his example in preparation, work ethic and the leadership of younger players,” Harvard-Westlake head coach Greg Hilliard said, according to a press release from the school following White’s selection for the award. “He makes others better.”
White said that he was recruited by some smaller Division I programs such as Pacific, San Diego, Rice and Colgate. This summer he will work out with a trainer and try to get into pickup games with some of players from UCLA to garner college-level playing experience.