Whitson recently eclipsed the 2,000-point barrier for her career and is within shouting distance of the all-time scoring mark at D-B for both boys and girls, set by Sasha Morrisette with 2,233 from 2011-15.
You’ve averaged a double-double all four years here at D-B. How have you been able to do that?
“I think it has a lot to do with grit. It’s not really thinking about the stats or anything like that. It’s my role on the team to go out there and do what I can to help the team.”
You recently surpassed the 2,000-point mark in Florida and currently have 2,157. If and when you do pass Morrisette — barring injury — what’s that mark going to mean to you?
“It’s going to be a great feeling, but all the work that has come before is going to feel like a relief. It’s going to show that hard work really does pay off. It’s all about the environment that I’m in, too. My teammates, coaches and family have all built up to that and it’s going to be a very relaxed feeling.”
D-B is currently leading the Big 7 Conference and you are having a great season so far averaging 25.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. What has this season been like for you so far?
“It’s been an enjoyable ride. It’s like with volleyball, being that I can go out of Dobyns-Bennett feeling good about it.”
You’ve had great success in other sports too like volleyball and even throwing the shot put and discus. What has it been like having so much success in a variety of sports?
“It’s very humbling and I tell people that all the time. It’s so much bigger than sports. It’s something that I’m going to look back on when I’m done and I will never forget it.”
Standout in the classroom as well?
“I do have a 4.0, but I need to retake the ACT again sometime and improve my score. It’s hard work in everything I do, and I never settle for anything less than the best. That’s what Coach Francis always talks about.”
You recently decommitted from East Tennessee State to play basketball and opened your recruiting back up. Why did you decommit from ETSU?
“I had a seven-month injury and I had to sit out my junior year for volleyball, and I just committed to kind of get a stress release to focus on my recovery. When I did commit, I had only been on unofficial visits and hadn’t taken any official ones.
“I felt like I needed to focus on more things than just basketball. I have a great support system here only being 20 minutes away from ETSU, and my family would be able to come to my games. I needed to look at culture and how I’m going to fit into that program. That was a tough phone call I had to make to Coach Ezell, and it definitely took a lot of prayer. I needed to figure out what was important to me because it’s where I’m going to get an education, or if I’m going to be able to play the stretch or if I’m going to fit in with the players and coaches.
“It was bad timing, but everything happens for a reason.”
What other schools are up for consideration?
“Middle Tennessee State is one of the schools that I’m looking at, and so is Samford, along with College of Charleston. There are some other schools that are out there, so it’s not done yet. I plan on taking my other four official visits after the season, but I’m really focused on this season right now.”
You had a terrific volleyball season as well, going to the state tournament and making a deep run in the loser’s bracket. However, you came up one game short of going to the title game, losing to Siegel. What was that season like for you?
“It felt like a chip on the shoulder moment. It was a little bit of a revenge season, and that was our goal at the beginning of the season to get to the highest level. I learned so much during that season leadership-wise and how to adapt to each player.”
You were recently named to the McDonald’s High School All-American basketball game nominees along with six others from Tennessee. What’s that mean to you?
“It’s a great honor for sure and that’s all I’ve looked up to since I was a little girl. It’s the McDonald’s All Americans and that’s big time. It still seems not real right now.”
According to MaxPreps Tennessee unofficial stats, Whitson currently leads Class AAA in scoring, rebounding, double-doubles and field goals made. She is also second in 3-point field goals made (50) and free throws made (77).
The 2018-19 McDonald’s High School All-American basketball teams will be announced on Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. on ESPN’s “The Jump” and later that night at 6 p.m. on “SportsCenter.”
The game will be played on March 27 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The top 24 boys and girls will get to participate in a full weekend of activities and become a part of a historic experience.
For the latest updates, go to www.mcdonaldsallamerican.com or follow @McDAAG on Twitter.