In a family that plays above the net, sophomore Micaya White found a different approach.
White grew up in a basketball household. Her father, Randy, averaged 21.2 points and 10.5 rebounds during his senior year at Louisiana Tech, earning the nickname “The Mailman II” due to his similar playing style to legendary alumnus Karl “The Mailman” Malone. The 6-foot-8 power forward was then selected with the eighth overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1989 NBA Draft, where he enjoyed a five-year career with the team.
Her older brother, RJ, is a recent graduate of University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he averaged 12.9 points and 6.7 rebounds in his final season.
Micaya White seemed destined to pursue the family business, but the Frisco native quickly learned that basketball wasn’t for her.
“I was forced to play basketball,” White said. “It didn’t turn out very well. I hated being touched and just running in general, which is not my thing.”
So White called it quits, taking up volleyball during her sophomore year of high school instead. It’s a decision that was met with some adversity at first.
“My mom was not supportive,” White said. “It’s just because she loves basketball. Everyone thinks that basketball runs in the family, and I kind of killed that.”
But White flourished in her new domain, graduating from Centennial High School just two years later as the No. 4 recruit in the nation and earning her family’s full support in the process.
Despite having an abundance of offers, White fell in love with Texas during the recruiting process, opting to join the program in 2015 and become a Longhorn.
“I just loved the culture,” White said. “(The girls) just reminded me of sisters I wish I had, and it was just an awesome experience all around.”
White’s collegiate career quickly got put on hold, though, as the promising young talent suffered a tibial stress fracture in her left leg before the 2015 season. She was forced to redshirt.
But White rebounded, returning the following year and recording 479 kills as the team’s premier outside hitter. Those efforts were recognized on Nov. 28, 2016, when White was named the Big 12 freshman of the year. That honor symbolized how far she had come.
“It meant so much to come back from being completely broken,” White said. “(The injury) made me really appreciate every day going into the gym and winning that award meant those eight months of torture just paid off.”
Now in the midst of her sophomore year, White is hitting her stride. The 6-foot-1 outside hitter has recorded a team-high four double-doubles this season and is a key part of a Texas squad that is poised for another run at the NCAA title.
But, most importantly, she has found where she belongs.