North Carolina point guard Stilman White -- the freshman who rose from third-stringer to NCAA tournament starter because of injuries last season -- still doesn’t know where his Mormon mission will take him. According to a Wednesday story in The Daily Tar Heel, he’s still in the midst of filing the paperwork, and he could end up just about anywhere.
But the next two years of his life will be vastly different than the past season, when classes and practice took up most of his time.
According to the story, written by Kelly Parsons, White -- where-ever he goes -- will wake up near dawn most mornings, exercise and study the scripture, and leave his apartment by 10 a.m. Then, with a traveling companion, he could do anything from preach on the street to passersby, to perform community service. He’ll return to his home by 9:30 p.m., be in bed an hour later, then start all over again the next day.
Though he will be encouraged by the Church to send weekly emails or letters to family and friends back home, White is allowed to make just two phone calls a year while on his mission: one on Mother’s Day, the other on Christmas.
One day a week, missionaries observe preparation day, an afternoon during which they have free time to do laundry, write letters and prepare for the week ahead.
Though White said he might be able to squeeze in a little practice time on this day if the conditions of his new environment allow it, he’s prepared to not pick up a basketball for the full two years.
For some, that might seem like a sacrifice, especially for a player who has loved and played basketball for so long. But for White -- who became one of the great UNC stories of the season after he racked up six assists, with zero turnovers, while starting in place of injured Kendall Marshall during the Tar Heels’ overtime NCAA tournament win over Ohio -- it’s a calling.
And a dream.
“A lot of people ask, ‘Well you’re on such a roll right now, why would you give it up after all you have going for you?’” White, who is from Wilmington, N.C., told the newspaper. “But ever since I was young, it’s always something I’ve wanted to do … so I’m willing to put that all down for a little while for this.”
He is scheduled to return to UNC for the 2014-15 season.
Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.