Youthful Paul White Makes Positive Impression

When the Whitney Young Dolphins took the floor on the University of Illinois campus last week, they introduced some quality youngsters to varsity basketball. One of the young players who showed sparks of excellence was Paul White, who just finished his eighth grade year.

Paul White is a 6'-6" upcoming freshman at perennial powerhouse Whitney Young. Slender and at times nervous about his role, White demonstrated enough to prove he will be a star down the line.

Dolphin coach Whitney Young praised White.

"Tremendous skills, tremendous basketball IQ, above average. Still light. He's got to get stronger, and that's gonna come with time when he starts working out."

White admits he needs to get over his nervousness and understand the complexities of the high school game.

"It's been a challenge so far. Everything is more intense, faster. It's pretty tough, but I think I'm doing pretty well out there."

The intelligent, well-spoken young man has a maturity level far beyond his years. He realizes and accepts the limits of his new role.

"You have to know the boundaries of your game. You have to know what you can and cannot do and what your teammates can and cannot do.

"It's very different from when I was on my eighth grade team. I played everything from guard to center. But on this team, I've got to learn my role, and I've got to play it well."

White will have plenty of competition along the front line at Whitney Young this season.

"This year, the big men are lined up. The front line is stacked. We've just got to have the guards to pass it in and know how to work with the bigs.

"We have myself, Jahlil (Okafor), Tommy (Hamilton Jr.), Jermaine Morgan, Nate (Brooks). So we've got to readjust. Last year we had a lot of guards, so this year I think it's gonna be more packed."

White, who will take an unofficial visit to Illinois soon, will likely evolve into a skilled wing player with time. He showed an ability and willingness to put the ball on the floor and create shots at the Illini team camp.

"Yeah, that's what I've been told. People try to compare me to a bunch of people, but I try to block that out and just play my game. See how I progress."

The precocious youngster has a wonderful approach to basketball and life.

"I'm not trying to look toward the future because I know the future is not always guaranteed. I'm just trying to worry about today and trying to get better today, the next day, and the next."

More than likely, White will join fellow freshman Okafor on the varsity this fall. Given the state of Chicago basketball, that may be a better fit for him than the freshman team.

"In Chicago Public Schools they cancelled sophomore sports. So you are either freshman or varsity. I'm pretty sure I'm playing varsity, but nothing is guaranteed."

White will be playing with the Ferrari 14 and Under AAU team this summer. Remember the name. He will wait his turn, but expect White to be among the elite high school players before he graduates.

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