Tallahassee, Fla. – It has been a whirlwind past few weeks for Florida State junior center Chatrice White.
First, she finds out unexpectedly from her jubilant head coach Sue Semrau on Sept. 23 that she was granted a waiver by the NCAA to play immediately. Her emotions took hold of her from there, getting the opportunity to make an instant impact on a team that has unlimited talent.
A potential small price to pay for earning her new status was the exciting trip to China she had planned. White was scheduled to represent USA Basketball in the upcoming FIBA 3-on-3 World Championship held Oct. 11-15 in Guangzhou, China. It was a chance for her to continue seeing the rest of the world while further developing her individual skills on the court.
Thankfully, Coach Sue enabled her to continue her pursuit in China, a promise she made to White when the outcome of her NCAA decision was hanging in the balance months back.
“I think it’s really cool. When Coach Sue first told me about the 3-on-3, at the time she didn’t know if I was going to play or not,” White said. “She said best case scenario, you get to do both. She didn’t want to hold me back from going if I didn’t get to play either. Now that I get to do both it’s really cool.”
The commitment means White will have to miss some practice time, which began on Monday, Oct. 3.
“It’s awesome, but I’m bummed I’m going to miss some practice here and miss the bonding and the team growing,” White added. “But the coaches think my game will grow personally from the 3-on-3 because it’s a different style and it will improve my game.”
The FIBA 3-on-3 World Championship features 20 countries in the Women’s Division, with four players on each team who rotate throughout. White will play alongside collegiate transfers Linnae Harper, Alexis Jennings and Natalie Romeo.
With Guangzhou being 12 hours ahead, White will have to adjust to the time difference. Based on Eastern Standard Time, the United States’ first game occurs against Italy on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 2:20 a.m.
Semrau has always been well-connected with USA Basketball, serving as assistant coach on the FIBA U18 and U19 World Championship teams in 2010 and 2011, respectively. White played alongside current FSU junior Shakayla Thomas on last year’s FIBA U19 team that won the World Championship in Russia.
Following her second stint wearing the Red, White and Blue, White hopes that more doors open for her with USA Basketball down the road.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” she said. “You’re already playing with really great collegiate basketball players at your schools. USA is the top of the top and it’s pulling some of the elite players together. Having the opportunity to play with and against them is huge. It’s kind of a cool thing to put on your résumé.”
Florida State Women’s Basketball achieved a program milestone over the summer when it had two players in guards Leticia Romero and Leonor Rodriguez not only participate in the 2016 Olympics, but also earn silver medals for Spain. Former player Natasha Howard also put on quite an exhibition for USA Basketball as part of the select team, and could break through by 2020.
The vision of participating in the Summer Olympics remains a goal for White, who feels she could actually be closer to it than once realized.
“My cousin actually asked me that when I was in seventh grade, and I kind of laughed and chuckled it off and said, ‘Oh that would never happen,’” White said of competing for USA in the Olympics. “But now that I’m getting more opportunities and more things are coming toward me, that’s definitely a goal for me to have and a dream really, to play with the top of the top and on a big stage.”
White, who hopes to do plenty of sightseeing while in China, is thankful for the places that basketball has taken her. She has traveled to countries that she likely never thought she would go to after growing up in a small city in Nebraska.
“It’s really cool,” White said of being able to travel around the world. “I didn’t have any opportunities to play with USA when I was in high school. I thought traveling around the country with my AAU team was really cool. Getting to travel to different countries, representing my own country, that’s really cool and really huge. I never thought that could come from basketball.”
While her sky mileage seems to have no limits these days, White’s contributions to Florida State over the next two years hopefully have no boundaries as well.
USA Basketball 3X3 Schedule (Eastern Standard Time):
Tuesday, Oct. 11 – vs. Italy at 2:20 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 11 – vs. Japan at 5:40 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 13 – vs. Chinese Taipei at 2:20 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 13 – vs. Spain at 5 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 15 – Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Finals