Sharman White is the head boys’ basketball coach at Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) where he won his seventh Class AAAAA state title in eight years. That dominance prompted White’s former McDonald’s All-American forward Tony Parker, now a junior at UCLA, to give White the nickname “Elvis. Because he’s the greatest.” White has agreed to give USA TODAY HSS exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from intimate details about his team to his methods to his everyday life in a monthly blog.
ALL ABOUT THE MADNESS
For the basketball purists of the world, Christmas has finally arrived!
March Madness is upon us and that means the pageantry of high school, college and professional basketball has taken center stage. All of the goals that were set in the off-season, all of the training and development that took place, as well as the mental approach to yet another season has all been organized around this time of the season.
For some teams, it was to improve, for others it was to continue to raise the bar and for most, it was to achieve the championship level that is so difficult to attain. There will be only one left standing and that’s what makes this time of the year very special.
As we prepare to participate in our first DICK’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament, where only eight of the top teams from the season can compete, it doesn’t get any better for our guys.
As a coach, this can be viewed as a pinnacle of high school basketball. Since its inception, being able to participate in the DICK’s Nationals has been only a dream of ours as we were not allowed to participate by our state high school association.
Last year, Wheeler High School was able to be the trailblazer in making sure we are able to compete this year. The support of colleagues, players and fans from across the state of Georgia has been overwhelming and has made this a part of the goal of every team as they prepare for the seasons to come. During a recent team trip to the state capitol to receive recognition and honor, our governor, Nathan Deal, cemented his full support of us participating in the event and wanted to us to know the commitment that his office has to seeing our state continue to grow the game. When we were announced as participants in this prestigious tournament, a huge contingency of my former players were very excited as this year’s team is able to compete for a national championship.
At the end of the day, this is a win-win for high school basketball and I would hope that other states follow in the form of Georgia and allow deserving teams to participate.
Our ultimate goal has always been to win a Georgia state championship and we know without that accomplishment, we would not have received this invitation. Participating in the DICK’s National tournament does not in any way overshadow our state championship, it only enhances it.
Individual accolades also are ever so present as we hit this time of the year. Seniors are playing in their last high school games ever and, with that being said, college choices that have not been made yet, will be made and the future of these players are in the balance of the most challenging decision to date. All-Star games are also a big part of this time of the season. We are fortunate to have several of our players participating in various all-star games as a credit to the seasons they have had. Alterique Gilbert (McDonalds, Jordan Brand Classic), Aaron Augustin (Georgia North/South) and Joshua Jackmon (Georgia North/South) have garnered these opportunities and we wish them well in each of these ventures as they have earned these opportunities.
Finally, for the record, my NCAA bracket is officially busted as three of my final four teams have went down which leaves my bracket in shambles but it’s the fun of being able to match predictions and how the ‘Madness of March’ takes over and has no mercy!
Truly, the ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”
“Opportunity has NO offseason.”
Don’t forget to follow Coach Sharman White on Twitter: @CoachSWhite