Maurice White heard rumors about Jimmy Patsos leaving Loyola after the 2012-13 season. The St. Frances shooting guard had committed to the Greyhounds in October, but decided to withdraw his pledge last month when talks about the Loyola coach leaving town intensified.
Sure enough, Patsos landed the coaching job at Siena earlier this month. It didn’t take long for White to hear from the new Saints coach.
“Probably like four days after he [took the job],” White said. “He called and told me he wanted me to come up there and follow him. I committed to Loyola because of him. He’s a good coach. He’ll take me a long way.”
Said St. Frances coach Nick Myles: “I think he’s excited about going to Siena with Jimmy. I think it’s a great opportunity. I think it’s the right decision for him and his family.”
White, who officially became Patsos’ first commitment at Siena late last week, averaged 19 points and seven rebounds as a senior. The Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection helped the Panthers to the MIAA A Conference tournament championship.
At Siena, White will be asked to help create that type of winning culture in a Saints program that finished 8-24 last season.
“[Patsos] just expects me to … knock down open shots, slash and get to the rim,” White said. “Basically, this whole summer I’ll be balling and getting everything consistent. So when I get up there I’ll work my way up or get somebody else’s spot.”
When he committed to Loyola, White said he was happy to stay close to home and team up with other former Baltimore-area high school stars. Spending the next four years 300 miles away from home at a school he’s never visited wasn’t exactly how the 6-foot-4 shooting guard envisioned his recruitment unfolding, but he’s now excited about “going far [from home] so I can do my thing and get recognized.”
“I heard it’s a small school, but I know they got a big facility,” White said. “Around the whole [Albany] area, everybody loves Siena basketball. They were good [in the past], but this year they weren’t so good and fans supported them anyway.”
White said his family has been supportive of his decision, especially his father, a truck driver whose route might occasionally take him through upstate New York.
“My father is cool with it,” White said. “Everything is tight with Coach Patsos. He said it’s a go.”
Myles, meanwhile, thinks Siena fans will enjoy watching White play from Day One.
“He’s just a tenacious defender and a person that can score in volumes,” Myles said. “He’ll definitely bring some scoring and be one of the best defenders right off the bat.”