New BYU women’s basketball coach Amber Whiting had her first major victory on the job this week, and it came in the form of family.
Whiting’s daughter, an ESPN Top-35 player in Amari Whiting, flipped her commitment from Oregon to BYU. She immediately becomes Whiting’s top-ranked player, and the presumed next face of the program.
“I have decided to join my mom at BYU as they enter the Big 12,” Whiting said on Twitter. “The Big 12 is a huge jump for BYU basketball and I have always loved challenges. ... I can’t wait to fight for a championship with my mom as my coach.”
BYU’s women’s basketball program has been in transition since longtime head coach Jeff Judkins stepped away in April. In BYU’s quest to find Judkins’ replacement — a man who won 456 games and made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances — athletic director Tom Holmoe turned to a high school coach in Whiting.
And the early returns were questionable in the first several months of the job. BYU’s top returning player Shaylee Gonzalez, the West Coast Conference player of the year, decided to transfer to Texas. And other recruits also opted for different destinations.
Holmoe admitted in his introductory press conference hiring Whiting was an unconventional pick. And he said her experience — which topped out at Idaho high school basketball — was not as high as other candidates.
“I might not have done this a week from tomorrow or last month,” Holmoe said in May. “But she came into this situation at the perfect time. There’s something to that. That feel was right.”
It was long thought that Whiting’s best attribute would be recruiting, coming from the high school and AAU ranks. Reeling in Amari Whiting is the first major step in that direction.
Amber Whiting has coached her daughter for the last 10 years, including high school. One of the initial questions Whiting had was if her daughter would follow her to BYU.
Now we have the answer.