NATCHITOCHES-- Natchitoches Central High School senior Brian White is 5-9. Stinnett, Texas native and West Texas High School senior Dalin Williams stands 6-8.
But they are nearly identical with their academic accomplishment and deep athletic resumes. White and Williams officially committed to NSU Wednesday morning as the early signing period began in basketball and several other winter and spring sports.
White, who owns a 25 ACT score, has a 3.68 grade point average.
Williams was nearly perfect on his ACT, posting a 34 score. He has a 4.0 GPA.
They are joining a program that under 19th-year head coach Mike McConathy has been consistently spotlighted for academic achievements, with excellent scores in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rates annual reports and a graduation rate of 90 percent for players.
The Demons also have an exemplary record of community service, while piling up on-court accomplishments under McConathy, who believes the addition of White and Williams beginning with the 2018-19 season further solidifies the future of the program.
“We’ve got eight first-year players, including six freshmen, on our team this year and feel really good about them as players and people. Getting Brian and Dalin on board for next season gets the minds of our coaching staff racing as we think about the exciting times ahead, and the quality of young men we’ve added to the program,” he said.
White is a two-time All-State selection who was a Max Preps Third-Team All-American as a sophomore, when the Chiefs won the state Class 5A championship. With him playing point guard for coach Micah Coleman, NCHS has a 90-14 record in the last three seasons.
“We feel very blessed to add someone to our program so talented, who is homegrown, with such great leadership qualities. Brian White is the epitome of a winner,” said McConathy. “When his name is mentioned throughout the state, everyone in the basketball coaching community quickly cites his ability to lead his team. Brian gets others to follow by his innate ability to lead vocally and by watching his driven work ethic.
“He has played in big games throughout his high school career and has been extremely successful. We firmly believe that prior success is the greatest predictor of future success,” said McConathy.
White averaged 18 points and five assists last season, leading the Chiefs to a 26-8 record and repeating all-district and all-state honors. While NCHS went 32-3 in his sophomore season and won the state title, he scored 17 per game and dished five assists per contest, earning district Most Valuable Player honors.
“Brian has the ability to score the basketball as well as make all four other players on the floor better that are on the floor with him. His skill set keeps defenses honest and court savvy puts others in scoring positions,” said McConathy. “He is an extension of his head coach on the floor. Brian sacrifices his personal achievement to win games for his team. Brian will be a great fit in every way within our basketball program, on our campus, and throughout our community. Brian is just as serious and achievement-oriented in the classroom as he is on the court.”
He has excelled in AAU competition for the Louisiana Roundballers under coaches Kolton Sepulvado and Darius Burton. The son of Brian White Sr. and Katrina Wilson is considering an accounting major at NSU.
“Brian will come to us from one of the best programs in our state. NCHS has a highly-respected program with a winning culture,” said McConathy. “Coach Coleman and his staff have prepared Brian mentally, physically, and skill-wise to make an easy transition to the Division 1 level. We look forward to his leadership and heart spreading throughout our program.”
Williams considered opportunities to play at Air Force and West Point-Army, among others, said recruiting coordinator and assistant coach Jeff Moore.
As a junior, he led West Texas High to a 26-2 record, including an unbeaten record in district play, averaging 18 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Williams was the district defensive MVP and was first-team All-Region last season.
“Dalin will add so much value to our program both on and off the court. He is the complete student-athlete,” said McConathy. “He is a very talented basketball player and athlete, but more importantly he is a selfless hard worker, and hard work has always been a staple of Demon Basketball. Dalin is very focused on achieving his goals with a dedicated determination that separates him from others, allowing him to rise to the top.”
As a sophomore, Williams was an all-district performer for the first time, and West Texas won the bi-district championship. He was a standout in summer competition for the Corpus Christi Bruins.
“Dalin will come into our program very well-prepared by his high school coach (Aron Graves) and his AAU coach (Clark Buerk), who run great programs that foster teamwork, hard work, and a winning mindset,” said McConathy. “Dalin plays with a relentless motor on both ends of the floor. He does all the things that take programs to the next level – rebounding every possession, taking charges, running the floor, sharing the basketball and never taking plays off.
“Dalin understands how to make winning plays on the floor. His length and athletic ability fit our style of play. He is fearless in the paint and has perimeter skills that expand his game to be successful at the Division 1 level. He is very fundamental on the defensive end,” said McConathy. “He understands team and individual defense. His drive, demeanor, and leadership will continue to help our program win championships. We are thrilled to have him joining our program, university, and community.”
Williams, the son of Charles and Lori Williams, is considering pursuing majors in business and engineering. He will enroll at NSU bringing more than 30 hours of college credits.
Along with being a basketball star, he has won two district championships in the high jump, and was an all-district receiver and defensive end in football as a junior. Williams also helped the West Texas golf team win two district crowns.
The 2017-18 Demons tip off their season Friday night at Texas, and make their homecourt debut Sunday afternoon at Prather Coliseum against LeTourneau at 4 p.m. after a 2 p.m. Lady Demons contest.