Okaro White is headed home – in a sense.
Brooklyn's new Barclay's Center will host Florida State-BYU tonight at 7 p.m.
Although White spent most of his adolescence and high school days in Clearwater, Fla., the junior forward was born in and lived the first 11 years of his life in Brooklyn, N.Y.
White and his Florida State teammates will visit the borough of Dodgers and Coney Island tonight for the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the brand new Barclays Center. The Seminoles (1-1) will tip off against Brigham Young tonight at 7, and will face either Notre Dame or St. Joseph's on Saturday.
“It's real special to me, especially because about 70 percent of my family is still there,” White said. “That gives them the chance to go ahead and see me play and stuff like that.”
Brooklyn's sports history is perhaps most famous for the baseball team that departed more than 50 years ago, but the borough is experiencing a bit of a basketball renaissance this year.
That has a lot to do with the 17,000-seat Barclays Center, which opened in September and the migration of the NBA's Nets from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
Kentucky and Maryland played in the new arena last week, and the Seminoles will do their part to help usher it in tonight.
“It's a great experience,” White said. “It's a brand new NBA gymnasium, so that experience in itself is going to be great.”
And after playing two lower-division opponents to open the season – with mixed results – the Seminoles will also get their real jump in competition.
Florida State forward Okaro White was born in Brooklyn.
Brigham Young is 2-0 after wins over Tennessee State and Georgia State and is led by Brandon Davies and Taylor Haws, both of whom average 22 points per game.
Notre Dame, meanwhile, is ranked 20th in the country and is paced by big mean Jack Cooley and Garrick Sherman.
“It's an opportunity to take our program to the next level and get right back on pace for where we want to be at this time of the season,” junior guard Ian Miller said. “It's just a great opportunity for us to go up there and turn a lot of heads.”