preferred style of play on the basketball court is easy to define. Get a steal, or grab a rebound, but get the ball up the floor – quickly. Then, get in your man's face on defense and do it all over again. Repeat as often as needed.
Each time the
Washington (Kansas City, Kan.)
senior has possession of the ball, he is looking to advance it via a quick pass up court, or by blowing by his defender and racing to the basket.
"I like to get up and down, kind of like Missouri does," White said of Tiger coach Mike Anderson's ‘40-minutes of Hell' brand of round ball. "The up and down tempo makes it fun, it's exciting basketball. Players get to use their athleticism.
"Sometimes basketball isn't as fun when you get stuck in a half-court game. We gotta get up and down. We have to do what we can to make that happen. Make them (opponent) play the way we want to play."
White and his Wildcat teammates have done very well using that very style so far this season. The Kansas City Kansas League school is 5-0 and averaging 77 points a game in 2010-11.
In their latest outing, Tuesday, White and company dispatched of a very good Shawnee Mission Northwest squad 65-49. On Dec. 11, Washington handed Missouri power Hogan Prep Academy its only loss in a 6-1 start, 84-83.
White scored 34 points collectively in the two contests, and dished out five assists and was credited with two steals in the border win over the Rams. But, White is not ready to settle for the early start. It's not where he, or his teammates, want to be.
"I want a state championship," White said without hesitation. "We are playing real well right now. We have six seniors and one goal. And that ain't gonna stop until we get there. The wins now are nothing. We are trying to get to our goal."
Washington made strides last season, getting to the state tournament at the Topeka-Expocentre before falling to McPherson 81-56 in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats broke a state tournament drought, dating back to the 1990s, at the expense of then three-time defending Class 5A state champion Topeka Highland Park in the sub-state final.
White ripped the cords for 29 points on 11-for-15 shooting in the win over the Scots, and pulled down six rebounds, dished out three assists and was credited with three steals.
"Last year we got over the hump," White said of knocking off Highland Park for the first time as a member of a Wildcat team. "We went in ready to play. We believed we could beat them. That was one of the best feelings ever.
"But that was our state title game. We didn't seem to want it as much after that. We realize now that we have to play hard all of the time and we can't take anybody for granted. It doesn't matter if we're playing a weaker team. We have to play our game."
After being on the losing end of that first-round loss to the Bullpups, the Wildcats are ready to extend the 2010-11 season a little farther and bring home the Wildcats' first boys state basketball title.
"It's very important that my teammates and I go out with a bang, and achieve our goals," White said. "We have to. We can't fail."
White is somewhat new to the game he plays so passionately, laying the foundation for his fine-tuned game in middle school. The 5-foot-11-inch senior quickly moved through the Wildcat ranks and earned his first start as a sophomore after gaining some playing time his freshman season.
White scored 18 points in his initial start and dished out eight assists as the Wildcats knocked off Atchison 78-71.
"I was anxious the whole day," White recalled of the first time he dazzled a Wildcat crowd as a starter. "I knew the game speed would be different, so I was nervous all day. It was just everything leading up to the game. But once I got out there, it was just basketball. It's what I want to do.
"I want to go all the way with this game. I want to do the best that I can for as long as I can. There is no reason to stop. I want to play my whole life. And as long as I can stay blessed with it, I believe that I can do that."
Every so often White and the rest of Wildcat coach Eric King's squad get a reminder that playing basketball as a career isn't as far fetched as some might think. Former UCLA and present Utah Jazz star Earl Watson, who played for the Wildcats in the mid-to-late 1990s, often pops in.
Knowing that Watson came from the same place that he currently is, adds some hope to White's future in basketball as a pro.
"We have a big time experience with him," White said of the 6-1 Jazz guard. "We know we can make it. We came from the same place. So if he can make it…that shows us that it is possible."
After corralling a state title at the conclusion of his senior season, White hopes to continue that dream by moving on to the collegiate ranks.
Boston College sounds like a good fit to White, as does Missouri. So far the University of Missouri-Kansas City has taken notice as well as East Tennessee State and Northern Colorado. All three have pitched offers to White. At a recent Midwest Elite Basketball Camp, White went toe-to-toe with University of Houston freshman Joseph Young.
"We knew we had a lot of schools there watching us, so it was time to show them what we had," White said of trading shot-for-shot with the 6-3 guard from Yates High School in Houston. "We went back and forth and up and down the floor. We just went at it."
White relies on his quick hands and foot speed to produce a lot of his scoring. But he is aware of the need for a mid-range jumper in the rare occasion he can't get to the rim. It's a shot that White said he comes by naturally, though he has perfected it through practice and repetition.
"His mid-range jumper is phenomenal, especially for a high school player," King said of White's touch inside the arc. "Most kids at this level like to either drive to the basket or shoot the ‘3.' He can get to the basket whenever he wants to.
"But he can also stop, pull up and get you with that jumper too. You can't just back off of him because he'll get you on the drive. He's just a great all around player."
King utilizes White at both the one and the two-guard positions. Once he reaches the top of the key, the 2009-10 first team all-state guard observes the defense before making his next move. He is confident that he can get by any one defender, or he may dish off to an open teammate.
The preseason KCK League MVP, who is averaging more than 20 points a game for his prep career, is pouring in 22.6 points per outing this season as well as averaging 2.4 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals.