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Canton High grad White spreads joy — even in face of adversity

 Canton High grad White spreads joy — even in face of adversity

Whether playing Division 1 basketball, creating viral social-media content or just being himself, B. Artis White spreads joy to those around him.

As a 5-foot-5, 120-pound freshman, B. Artis White carried modest expectations into Canton High School’s 2015 basketball tryouts.

“I was so small , I told the coaches I wanted to try out for junior varsity,” White said Thursday afternoon from the campus of Western Michigan University.

“Coach (Jimmy) Reddy said, ‘Nah, you have to come up (to varsity). We need you at that level’.”

Only a ninth-grader, White quickly established himself as a force for the Chiefs, defying defenses with a series of net-finding three-point shots and dazzling ball-handling skills that left opponents’ heads spinning.

“That was a great experience for me,” White confirmed. “Looking back, it was a blessing. God showed me I could play at that level.

High achiever

“At Canton, my game developed, I got stronger and smarter. I always liked playing basketball when I was young. But at Canton, I learned to love the game.”

A photo of B. Artis white from the 2019 PCEP yearbook
A photo of B Artis white from the 2019 PCEP yearbook

By the time he played his final high school game in the spring of 2019, White was the school’s No. 2 scorer (behind only Dietrich Lever) — and he finished runner-up (to current NBA G League player Romeo Weems) in voting for Michigan’s Mr. Basketball.

“As great of a player B. Artis is, he’s an even better person,” Reddy said. “He’s an incredible human being. He did so much for our basketball program, on and off the court.

“The greatest thing about B. Artis is that as much as he scored for us — he had over 1,000 points over his four years here — he loved making the great pass even more than scoring. His effort on the defensive effort was great, too. I can’t say enough good things about the young man. He is a great ambassador not only for Canton basketball, but for Canton High School.”

 

Hoops are in his DNA

Basketball has been a huge part of White’s life for as long as he can remember.

Benny White was played for Michigan State University from 1972 to 1976
Benny White was played for Michigan State University from 1972 to 1976

His father, Benny White, was a point guard for Michigan State University from 1972-76, and he is a widely-respected high school and college coach (he coached Detroit King from 1995-2010; and served as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University for seven seasons following his successful tenure at King) .

“I was always around basketball; I can still remember going to my dad’s practices and games at King when I was a little kid,” White said. “Since I was always around the sport, I think it kind of came naturally to me.

‘Cool’ watching dad’s highlights

“Somebody put together a reel of my dad playing at MSU, which was really cool for me to see. He could really handle and pass the basketball.”

B. Artis White PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
B Artis White PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

After contemplating a number of offers, White committed to play college basketball for Western Michigan University.

As a freshman for the Broncos, White started 30 games and averaged 7.9 points, 1.6 assists  and 0.9 assists per game.

He emerged as a go-to player for Western his sophomore year, averaging 14 points and 2.4 assists while making a crazy-good 42% of his three-point shots.

“I had a great sophomore year statistically and was working hard toward making my junior season a breakout year,” White said.

White encountered his first taste of life-altering adversity the summer before his junior season when he tore a meniscus ligament while playing in an open-gym setting.

Remarkable resilience

He attempted to play through the discomfort before ultimately undergoing surgery that sidelined him for an entire season.

B. Artis White brings the ball up the court against Northern Illinois University PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
B Artis White brings the ball up the court against Northern Illinois University PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

“I always knew I was going to come back,” B. Artis said, reflecting on the often-grueling post-surgery rehabilitation process. “It was just a matter of how I was going to play when I came back.

“I’m a guy who needs his wheels. I rely on my quickness, hops and bounce. Although I knew I’d play again, I didn’t know if I’d be the same player.”

White’s lingering doubts were answered when he scored 20 points in the Broncos’ 2023-24 season opener against North Dakota State.

“Physically, I felt great throughout the game,” White said. “The next day, though, there was some swelling in my knee, so I had to get an MRI. There was a little bone contusion, so it was still happening.

“God is still working in my life, though, so I can’t complain.”

Brilliance returns

From Dec. 29 through Jan. 12, White — although probably not at 100% health-wise — registered five consecutive double-digit scoring nights, including a 25-point effort against Northern Illinois.

What makes White special is the way he impacts people’s lives off the basketball court.

Wearing a contagious smile and armed with an optimistic outlook, he is a joy-spreader.

B. Artis White sizes up the Notre Dame defense PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
B Artis White sizes up the Notre Dame defense PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

White has earned the reputation of a positivity-based influencer on social media. He has over 172,000 followers on Instagram. One of his reels alone garnered 658,000 views.

“I never planned for my social-media presence to blow up like it has,” he admitted. “I just started having fun with it and it took off.

“I try to be a role model for kids, spreading positivity and love. I love proving to people that anything is possible if you work hard and dedicate yourself to something.”

White recently earned a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and will walk in WMU’s commencement ceremony in May.

His future plans are uncertain, he said. With one more year of eligibility remaining, he could play another year of college hoops. Or he could start his professional career — basketball-related or otherwise.

Whatever B. Artis White decides to do, you can be sure he will continue to spread joy.

Because like a post on his Instagram states: “Everything will be OK. I promise.” — God.

Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or edwright@socialhousenews.com.

Buying or selling a home this year? Working with our real estate company, Social House Group, helps us bring you more good news. If you’re considering a move, schedule an appointment with Erik Wright today by calling or texting him at (734) 620-4736. We’d love to help you with your next move!

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Ed Wright

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