Hilton Harrell knows talent when he sees it.
Harrell, who played professional basketball with the Houston Rockets and Venecia, is currently employed as the head coach at McComb High School in McComb, Miss.
Such standouts as Jackie Butler, who briefly played with the New York Knicks for the 2004-05 NBA season, have come and gone. Each time, new faces and fresh talent have stepped in to carry on a winning Tiger tradition.
But of all the players he's overseen, Harrell is quick to praise rising senior Ladarius "Snoop" White. White, a versatile guard with a 6-foot-8 wingspan, rates as a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com.
"His abilities with his length and size make it so he can play both guard positions," Harrell said Monday. "It's what makes him so special. He can make the outside shots, can post you up and he can pass the ball as well as any person I've coached for or against. He's also an excellent man-on-man defender and very unselfish."
As a junior, White averaged 23.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. His shooting percentages were off the charts, too. He made 66 percent of his field goal chances, including a sparkling 56 percent from beyond the arc.
McComb, thanks primarily to the contributions of its star player, finished 25-5 overall in class 5A, the second-highest classification in the state of Mississippi.
"He's been starting since he was an eighth grader for us at the one and the two," said Harrell. "We've just put him anywhere we needed him to be used. We even posted him up because he's so good at it."
It didn't take long for interested colleges to take notice. White received calls from, among others, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Baylor, Kansas, LSU and Memphis. Three schools, specifically those in-state, extended offers.
However, one school in particular stood out. Ole Miss assistant coach Owen Miller quickly built a relationship with the talented guard through a casual encounter at one of White's AAU games his freshman year in Texas.
Now two years later, White has committed to the Rebels, and joins Tyler Poole in the Rebel class of 2011.
"They just kind of bonded and it went from there," Harrell said of the relationship between Miller and White. "It looks like Snoop chose Ole Miss over Mississippi State. He just fell in love with the environment, campus and coaches at Ole Miss.
"It's not that he didn't like the MSU coaches, he just really loved the Ole Miss coaches."
White stands 6-foot-4, 175 pounds, but still has room to grow, according to Harrell. And even though his position ranges from both guard spots to the post, he is expected to contribute immediately once he arrives on campus.
"They want him to come in and play right away," Harrell said. "They feel in a few more years, he's a potential pro player. I don't know if they'd rather play him at the two or three, but he'll probably be a combo player when he gets there. I see him more as a two-guard, but you can put him at the three if needed.
"It wouldn't surprise me if he grew another inch or two before he got there."
But despite his great potential, even Harrell will admit White has areas of his game in need of improvement.
Harrell would like to see White "grab that killer instinct," and sees his senior season as significant toward his development as a blossoming star.
"He's got all the tools," Harrell said. "Now all he needs to do is mature a little more this year. I believe what he does this spring, summer and fall will be a factor if he's going to have an impact right away at Ole Miss."
White makes his choice
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