White House senior Jacob McDonald has clarity on where he will be playing basketball next year.
The point guard committed to Johnson University on Feb. 10, just two weeks after he received an offer from the school. Johnson is in Knoxville and plays in the National Christian College Athletic Association.
“I’ve been in love with the campus and the coaches,” McDonald said. “It just felt right from the beginning. It felt right to my heart.”
McDonald attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) camp at Johnson last summer and happened to meet Royals head coach Brandon Perry. The two talked, exchanged contact information and eventually the Johnson coach came to see McDonald play.
“Jacob is such a good kid, on and off the court,” White House coach Caleb Cook said. “I’m proud that he gets to go play another four years of ball. He has a great basketball IQ, which I think will translate to the next level well.”
McDonald is averaging 10 points, 5.7 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game this season. He has totaled nearly as many career assists (453) as he has points (520).
“I just like getting my teammates involved with the game,” he said. “I feel like if I get them going early, they’re going to get rolling and get shots. That leads to me having open shots later in the games. I’m a team guy.”
Cook agreed, saying that McDonald always finds ways to help the team. The Blue Devils (11-16) have won 10 of their 13 games after starting the season 1-13. During that stretch, McDonald has averaged 12 points and seven assists per contest.
“He knows that if his shot isn’t falling, there are other ways he can help out his team,” Cook said. “That shows that he’s not a selfish player. He doesn’t care what he does, he just wants the team to be successful.”
McDonald, who was also recruited by Maine Maritime Academy, Martin Methodist and Warren Wilson College, has increased his scoring production by nearly six points per game over his 4.3 average from 2018-19. The graduations of two now-college players – Octavian Arnold (Martin Methodist) and Jared Ward (Volunteer State) – have allowed him to be more than just a facilitator for the Blue Devils.
“I think I’ve always been a scorer,” McDonald said. “It was kind of hard to score with Jared and Octavian and especially (current senior) Durstin (Adams) – they shoot the ball a lot. I was just trying to feed them. But this (season), I knew I was going to have to score for us to win games. I really worked on my shot this summer, and I feel like I shoot the ball (decently).”
McDonald plans to get a business degree with a possible minor in education. He hopes to stay around the game as a coach someday.
Before that, McDonald said he thinks he will be a good fit for Johnson’s offensive system. The Royals average nearly 83 points per game and play an up-tempo brand of basketball.
“I’m a guy that likes to get up-and-down in transition,” he said. “It helps me see the floor well. Johnson plays fast-paced and they score a lot of points. They are going to shoot the three ball at a high percentage. They’re going to dare you to shoot with them and to try to catch up.”