Mike White drives to the basket against Central Christian College

MCC's White Wearer of Many Hats

By Mark Janssen

So, you think you have a busy life!

​Here’s a warning. Don’t compare your “to do” list with the rigors of Mike White’s daily schedule.

​Even he admits, “My plate is pretty busy.”

​Just for starters, the Manhattan Christian College senior carries 15 hours toward his Management and Ethics major.

​Then, depending on the week, he works 20 to 40 hours a week making deliveries for Mead Lumber in Manhattan.

​Oh yes, the Kansas City native also plays a starring role with the MCC Thunder basketball team. You know the one. The one that plays a couple games a week, plus practices from 10 to midnight at the Manhattan City Auditorium.

​Wait … there’s one more thing with that being caring for his 11-year-old nephew, Antonio, who makes frequent visits from Kansas City to The Little Apple to see his pal, and favorite Uncle Mike.

​“I have a busy life, but you do what you have to do,” said White. “Right now, there’s just not an option to take time off.”

​A product of Kansas City’s Sumner Academy, White first accepted a basketball scholarship to play at Friend’s University in Wichita.

​With a slight smirk and roll of the eyes, White reflected, “I let freshman pride get the best of me. I got there and thought I was better than some of the seniors, but the coach thought he owed the seniors the playing time. After days of getting up at 5 a.m. to run miles, and miles, and miles, several of us just said, ‘We have to get out of here!’”

​Some of the others included Sterling Turner and Horace Scott, who all just happen to be teammates today at MCC.

​“God works his ways for a reason,” said White. “He put me at Friends to learn something, and he’s put me here for a reason. It’s up to me to make the most of it. It’s all just part of the journey of life.”

​White’s life took a slight detour during the 2014-15 season at MCC when he was suspended from the team during the second semester for missing too many classes during the fall months. Then, he faced the challenge of overcoming a severe case of shin splints last year when he posted averages of 10.8 points and 6.6 rebounds.

Those statistics helped him to second-team All Central Region honors on a team that placed third in the National Christian College Athletic Association Championships.

Today, MCC’s No. 2 national ranking and being champions of the Midwest Christian College Conference and post season tournament title are greatly due to White’s double-double average of 19.7 points on a whopping 63 percent from the field, plus harvesting 10.0 boards per game.

“Mike has been our most consistent player,” said MCC coach Shawn Condra of his 6-foot-5 senior. “He’s a little under-sized for a post player, but he’s very effective.”

Plus, assistant coach Jordan Strom adds, “He’s stepped outside his comfort zone and has become a leader for us. He’s never been an overly vocal guy, but he’s tried harder to be that. He takes responsibility for his actions and does a good job of connecting with our younger guys.”

Of his own game, White, the MVP of the Midwest Christian College Conference this year, said, “I’m not here for statistics, but to get team wins. I can score, but we have several guys who can score, so I just try to be the overall leader and make sure everyone is in the right place. I hope people notice my defense because that’s where it all starts. You shouldn’t be on the court if you’re not playing defense.”

Both of MCC’s coaches also point with pride how White has developed as a person in his three years on the MCC campus.

Agreeing is White, who says with a laugh, “I was never a bad kid, but I’ve learned to make better decisions and realize today that I should have done a lot more listening early in life.”

While raised in a Christian household, White candidly said of his church-going days, “I ‘had’ to be there.”

Like a lot of young people, he added, “I was told to believe, but I can’t say I was a firm believer.”

And today?

“Coming to MCC has been an eye-opening experience for me,” said White, who hopes to dabble in Kansas City real estate and property management in the near future. “For the last two years, I’ve started putting things together as far as my life and God. Again, it’s been one of those steps God put in my life. It’s not about how big of a school you go to, but it’s about the experience you take advantage of with where you are.

“When I was young, I’d listen to the general things my aunt and uncle said, but here you dig so much deeper into the Bible with things that were overlooked when I was younger,” said White. “it goes so much deeper than just ‘Jesus saves.’

“I’m constantly learning about the Bible. That wouldn’t have been possible at a lot of other schools,” said White. “Spiritually, I’ve really grown. I’ve opened my eyes to the big picture. I’m definitely a firm believer.”

And with that, he hopes a firm role model for Antonio, who spends time with his mother and grandmother in Kansas City, but also cherishes time with Uncle Mike at MCC and hanging around the practices of the Thunder.

​“He’s a good kid. He’s my buddy. He’s not a worry because he does what I ask him to do,” said White. “He loves to get in the gym whenever he can. He has a nice little game.”

​Pausing, White added, “I hope I’m a good role model. It’s not a conversation we’ve ever had, but I try to be the positive influence that he needs. I can show tough love when there needs to be tough love. (Laughing) It’s not the belt, or anything like that, but I can make him run around until he’s really tired and will behave.”

​White and the Thunder open Southwest Regional play Thursday at 4 p.m. against Central Christian College of the Bible. While MCC is No. 2 ranked in the country, also in the Southwest Region I No. 1 ranked Randall. In regular season play, Randall has won twice over the Thunder with both games going to overtime.

 

MCC Scoreboard

2/25/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 2s Arlington Baptist College | L, 88-81 
2/20/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 1 Barclay College | W, 109-90 
2/20/2021 | Womens Basketball vs. No. 5 Faith Baptist Bible College | W, 78-67 
2/19/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 3 Faith Baptist Bible College | W, 93-70 
2/19/2021 | Womens Basketball vs. No. 7 Central Christian College of the Bible | W, 64-57