Inspired by her late aunt, former Tooele High standout Jackie White-Kimber, Grantsville High senior Maison White has always loved the game of basketball.
It has led her to put in countless hours of hard work to refine her game, helping her become one of the most dominant forces in Class 3A girls basketball last season as the Cowboys finished fourth at the state tournament. All that hard work has paid off yet again, as White recently signed a national Letter-of-Intent to play college basketball at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, a Division II school competing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
“My aunt Jackie was a huge part of why I wanted to play college basketball,” White said. “I just fell in love with everything about basketball, and that kind of just grew and my love for basketball grew more and more.”
Mountain Lions coach Lynn Plett is excited about adding White to his team’s roster and hopes she can help UCCS in the tough RMAC.
“Maison fits very well into our style of play,” Plett said in a press release announcing White’s signing. “She runs the floor in transition, aggressively rebounds and scores consistently around the basket. At six feet (tall), she has the physical ability and tenacity to defend bigger players inside, but has the quickness and versatility to guard on the perimeter as well.”
Plett noticed the massive leap that White’s game took during the 2019-20 high school season. She was a First Team All-Region 13 and Class 3A All-State selection after averaging 19.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 1.3 assists per game last season for the Cowboys. She stepped up in region play, averaging 20.4 points and 10.4 rebounds in 10 Region 13 contests, including six double-doubles and a school-record 37 points in a win over South Summit.
“She has improved every season of her high school career, nearly averaging a double-double during her junior season,” Plett said in a press release. “I believe Maison will be a tremendous addition to our team and has the potential to become an exceptional player for us.”
White said she always dreamed of playing college sports. However, she didn’t expect that it would be basketball that would get her to the next level — at least, not until Grantsville coach Megan Vera and assistant coaches Andrew Vera and Mike Cafarelli, along with Chris Baker, started working with her when she was in elementary and junior high school. Originally, she thought she might end up playing college softball, but basketball eventually took center stage.
“Coach Vera, her husband and Coach Cafarelli, along with my family, have been a huge part of everything,” White said. “Ever since freshman year, or probably seventh or eighth grade, I’ve wanted to play college basketball. My dream was always to play both (softball and basketball), but now it’s just focused on basketball.”
Colorado Springs is more than 600 miles and roughly nine and a half hours away from Grantsville by car. Being so far away from friends and family, including her twin brother, Logan, will be a new experience for White, but she is excited for this next step.
“I went and visited and I just knew,” she said. “I stepped on campus and I saw the gym and I knew, ‘this is where I want to go.’ It just felt right, I guess. It was a hard decision, but it was the right one.
“My goal is just to go there and grow,” she added. “That’s always what I’ve wanted to do, is become more independent. My goal is to become a better basketball player and be more comfortable with people, and meet more people — that’s a huge part of it. I think it will be good to go that far away, because I can still come home every once in a while, but I think it will be good to experience something outside of Utah and experience how different the game is outside of Utah. I’m just so excited to see what’s out there.”
White plans on studying forensic science and criminology at UCCS. Her father, Brian, is a deputy with the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office, so she and her family have strong ties to law enforcement.
“My family is really big into that,” she said. “I’m happy to join them.”