Druid Hills High School senior Devin White has come a long way in 10 years of playing Adapted Sports in DeKalb County culminating with his signing to play Adaptive (wheelchair) Basketball at the University of Texas at Arlington.
As a 10-week premature baby Devin has dealt with various problems including loss of eyesight, hearing, learning to walk at the age of three and mild cerebral palsy, but as a lover of sports from a young age he has not let any of it get in the way of his desire to play any and all sports.
“He transferred to Laurel Ridge Elementary as he was entering the third grade and he was just regaining his sight and the hearing in one ear,” said Devin’s mother Monica White. “They mentioned being the home of the DeKalb Eagles Adaptive Sports team and Devin quickly said to sign him up.”
DeKalb’s Adapted Sports Coordinator/Coach Lisa Patterson explained how Adapted Sports worked with the students playing from wheelchairs competing with teams across the state. (DeKalb was the birthplace of and model for other adapted sports programs across the state and country beginning the program in 1996. The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary).
She was concerned about him only being eight years old and playing sports in a wheelchair being hard, but Devin was not to be deterred and was signed up to play.
“Sports kept me busy and I didn’t take it too serious along the way,” said Devin. “I got more serious in the 11th grade knowing scholarships were possible, but had not seen too many people get one.”
Devin became the third product of the DeKalb program to receive a college scholarship to play adaptive sports in recent years joining former players Collin Hunt (2020 graduate of the University of Illinois) and Chance Boyd (current Auburn athlete) as a scholarship signee.
That day in the fall of 2010 began a 10-year love affair with adaptive sports playing wheelchair handball (fall), basketball (winter) and football (spring). Devin quickly became a student of the game and grew into a leadership role on the teams he played.
“Devin still played able bodied football and basketball as well as the adapted sports,” said one of his coaches, Delton Shoats. “You could tell during timeouts he was the one focused on what you were saying. He began to take leadership with the teams and has been our floor general.”
Practicing, studying game film and other videos showed his determination to get better and his coaches began to rely on his suggestions.
“He sees things in games and how we can adapt to what is going on because he is such a student of all sports,” said Delton Shoats. “Sometimes he says coach if we can do this or that we might be able to get some easy scores and we say let’s try it. He also studies the other teams and knows what players need to be guarded more closely and tendencies they have.”
“He is very sports minded and leads the team in practice and games,” said Co-Coach Everette Shoats. “He will be greatly missed and made our job much easier. When he needed to take over a game, he did.”
One of the games his leadership and skills was certainly on display was the 2015 Junior Varsity Basketball State Championship game.
“We had a player get injured and was out of the game with us trailing,” said Delton Shoats. “Devin went up to him and told him the team had his back. He promptly went out and hit two consecutive three-pointers to spur our comeback victory.”
Both coaches mentioned Devin’s selfishness as a player and how he made sure his teammates got involved in the game and scoring.
“Devin can make just about any basketball pass you see in any other type of basketball game,” said Delton Shoats. “He can do no-look passes and in one game he faked out about three defenders with a behind-the-back pass to a teammate for an easy score.”
In fact, one of Devin’s acts of unselfishness came in the 2018 state semifinals for football and it is one of his fondest memories. Devin suggested to teammate David Robinson to move to quarterback so he could throw a pass.
“David had never throw a pass and I told if he threw it I would catch it,” said Devin smiling as he remembered the moment. “It ended up being only a two-yard completion, but it was great to see him so thrilled to get to throw the ball.”
These kinds of qualities are among the reasons Devin received multiple offers and was accepted by some 14 colleges and universities with the opportunity to continue his education and basketball in the coming years. It also helped he had a 3.6 GPA in high school.
“We did a lot of virtual tours of the schools and Texas-Arlington just seemed the best fit for me,” said Devin.
The Moving Mavs’ won the 2020 adapted basketball national championship and for the ninth time since 1991 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994,1997, 2002, 2006, 2017, 2020).
He chose the Texas school over Arizona (Pac 12), Butler (Atlantic 10), Clemson (ACC), Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference), Hiram College (North Atlantic Coast, Ohio), Kentucky (SEC), LSU (SEC), Mississippi State (SEC), Nebraska (BIG 10), Ole Miss (SEC), Oregon (Pac 12), Penn State (BIG 10), and Virginia Tech (ACC).
Devin heads to Texas with his own sports chair thanks to a grant through the Challenged Athletics Fund.
“The grant was truly a blessing since medical insurance doesn’t pay for the expensive sports chairs,” said Monica.
One of Devin’s teammates over the past 10 years was Keith DeBrosse, a senior at Decatur High School, is also going to college next fall after being accepted to Georgia State University. DeBrosse is in the dual enrollment program at Georgia Piedmont Tech and is interested in sports management, film and music.
Their coaches hope the pair will return to DeKalb to coach the Adapted Sports programs in their stead. “We are getting old and to have these great ambassadors for DeKalb come back to coach would be amazing,” said Everett Shoates.
Devin’s career in the DeKalb Adapted Sports Program includes junior varsity state titles in football (2018) and basketball (2019).
DeKalb won a varsity basketball title as the Red Hot Rollers in 1997 and the 1996 handball title. Junior varsity titles include five basketball titles in 2006, 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2019 while also capturing the 2019 football state title.
Source: DCSD Athletics