White gets competiton buzz from Mocs day camp

White gets competiton buzz from Mocs day camp

June 9th, 2014 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

UTC guard Ronrico White (11) dribbles the ball down the court at McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga in this file photo.

Photo by Erin O. Smith/Times Free Press.

Ronrico White is always itching for competition.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga rising seniors claims he's the best at almost everything -- golf is one of the exceptions and he knows his limitations on the links.

White is getting his fill of competition during the offseason with official workouts. But that's not quite enough, even though White is healthier than ever since hip-surgery about a year ago delayed the start to his season.

"I'm feeling good," White said last week. "I'm not planning on going under the knife again. I want to keep getting stronger and feeling better."

With most of the Mocs, but not all, on-campus this time of year pick-up games and official workouts help satiate White's desire for competition.

He's played games with many of the newcomers including Shaquille Preston, Jacolby Mobley and Chuck Ester. But the real games begin on June 16 when White and many of the Mocs start coaching their assigned teams in the UTC basketball day camp organized by second-year head coach Will Wade.

"I love coaching the little kids, the smallest ones because they want to have fun," White said. "If I can help them have fun, and get better in the process, then that's a win.

"I was kind of upset we didn't have a camp last year."

That's because he couldn't be camp coach of the year with Wade taking over the program in late May of 2013.

The UTC player who coaches his 5-on-5 or 3-on-3 team to championship has bragging rights over his teammates for a full year.

"I want my team to have fun and play the best that they can," White said after a summer class. "Within our team, anytime you can have fun and compete against one another, you learn something. I know it's just a camp, but you can see how the young players respond to their coach."

So who is the best coach -- outside of Wade and his assistants Wes Long, Casey Long, Turner Battle?

"Me," White said. "Lance [Stokes] would be a good coach. His players would listen to him and he has a high basketball IQ. And probably Tre' [McLean]. He'll have his team rowdy and ready to go all-energetic."

That's the type of guy he is.

McLean, and Justin Tuoyo sat out last season per transfer rules. Yet they both should have an impact on the 2014-15 Mocs. Both of them -- and the other newcomers -- will be able to participate in 10 days of official practice leading up to the Mocs' trip to Bahamas in late August.

"More than half of our scholarship players haven't played in a Division I game," Wade said. "It makes sense to do this trip."

Before the Mocs start sporting board shorts -- or the unlikely possibility of a skimpy Speedo -- UTC players will be helping kids in the community who sign up for camp.

"To have the kids interact with the guys is really cool," said Brooks Savage, the director of basketball operations who handles most of the camp details. "If your team wins the championship, that's bragging rights through the summer and the entire year. They can get into it and get after it and coach their team.

"Guys feed off energy from the kids; then the kids fed off their energy."

Wade couldn't hold camp last year because he needed the time to hire a staff and get settled as the head coach.

"I enjoy wathcing our guys coach kids," he said. "Our players learn that it is tough to coach. They learn how it is for me at times.

"The more they can be a good role model, the better."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.