Billy White Jr., 31, is the fifth-year head basketball coach at Copperas Cove. The Bulldawgs defeated host Ellison on Tuesday, 57-55, upping their District 8-5A record to 5-5 (14-13 overall). White talked with the Herald’s Allan Mandell after the contest.
Coach, third quarter, your team is on an 8-2 run. Rashard Odomes drove, drew a double team and gave this beautiful dish to Chance Smith for an easy layup. You leaped in the air like you were a senior in high school.
(Laughing) Yes. That was just great basketball. And I love the game of basketball and get excited when I see it played the way it’s supposed to be played. Rashard drove, the defense collapsed, Chance was wide open, Rashard dished it off to him, easy layup under the basket—and that’s the way this game is supposed to be played. And I was excited to see my team play the game that way.
It was your superstar making a super feed.
Exactly. There’s a lot of things that people don’t know about Rashard. But one of the best things about his game is his vision and his ability to pass the ball. And, like you said, when I see things like that it really excites me. And that’s why I leaped into the air like that.
You stayed in the 2-3 zone from the start of the contest until 30 seconds to go — the final possession, when Ellison had the ball. Your zone was effective. Your guys kept moving their feet. Was that the key, Coach?
Yes, that was the key. When we get down and defend, we can do some good things. We were able to move around, move those feet, stay active, keep our hands active at the same time and come up with some steals when we needed them.
What about Rashard’s range? He drilled a 26-footer and then came back and hit one from 27 feet out. That’s crazy.
It is crazy. It is. But he’s that type of player; he can do so many things well. He can hit shots from that far out. Those shots were in his range. Hitting the deep 3 is a nice part of his game.
A lot of people will be talking about Rashard’s offense tonight, the 20 points. But I’m guessing the one play you’ll remember the most was his big defensive play: 1:14 to go and he fearlessly blocks a four-foot shot which kept you in the lead.
Exactly. And that’s the thing we need him to do. He has that ability and we need him to remain a complete player. Every kid in America that plays the game of basketball wants to score. But the great players score and they defend on the other end because that is what wins games. That block was so big for us.
And how about the game Chance Smith gave you tonight?
Oh, yes. Chance has been playing exceptionally well. Tonight, he was active on the glass, he hit his short jump shots. He has been playing big for us. We’re playing great team ball. We’ve had a lot of guys stepping up for us.
Montre Williams seems like a coach on the floor for you.
He is, he is. Montre Williams is a kid that I will really miss in a month. He’s a great basketball player. He understands the game. He can see things develop before they even start to develop. He is, like you say, a coach on the floor.
Coach, who are some of the other kids you’d like to recognize?
Marquise Moreland is one of those kids. He’ll never do things that get into the newspaper or make their way onto the stat sheet. But he does so many things that help our basketball team win games. What he does is so vital to the success of our team. He’s a great ballplayer and he does so many of the things that most young kids don’t want to do: sacrifice his body, play tough defense and not worry at all about points.
Coach, what does this win do for your kids? They all went bonkers after this win.
We just have to regroup. We have Temple coming to play us on Friday. So we have to make sure we regroup, refocus, and make sure we’re ready to play Temple. That’s what I just told our guys in the locker room. We just had a great win, a great game. But this season isn’t over. Enjoy it for a few short hours. Then it’s back to work.