CHICAGO -- Thursday’s ESPNU telecast of Perspectives-Whitney Young wasn’t supposed to be about showcasing freshman Paul White, but he made it that way.
Facing the No. 2 player in the country in Kentucky recruit Anthony Davis in a nationally-televised game, White took advantage of his opportunity and proved he belongs in the conversation of the best freshmen in the country.
White, a 6-foot-7 guard, played everywhere from the point guard to the post while scoring 11 points from inside and out, grabbing a few rebounds, blocking one of Davis’ shots and throwing down a monstrous fastbreak dunk in No. 8 Whitney Young’s 76-47 win over Perspectives on Thursday at Chicago State in the Nike High School Hoops Madness.
“It was fun to play on national TV,” White said. “You rarely get this chance, especially as a freshman. I have to take every opportunity that I can get.”
To not only play well before a massive audience, but do it against Davis, gave credence to White’s performance. He wasn’t afraid to drive right at the 6-10 Davis or get up right on him on defense. In the third quarter, Davis elevated for a baseline jumper, and White directed it back at him.
“I don’t really get nervous when it comes to games like this,” White said. “I’m not really scared of people like that. I’ll take on anyone I need to.”
ESPN recruiting coordinator Reggie Rankin took notice.
“I love his athletic ability, business-like approach and upside,” Rankin said.
So does Illinois coach Bruce Weber. The Illini are the lone school to offer White. Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter expects more to follow as they have with fellow Dolphins sophomore Tommy Hamilton Jr. and freshman Jahlil Okafor.
“Paul White’s one of the top players in the country in his class,” Slaughter said. “I think a lot of times people when they see Jahlil they kind of forget about Paul White. If you talk about it from a national perspective, Paul White is a top-10 player in the country.
“I have to believe as people see him more and more they will recognize the level of his game. I think at the end of the day people will know what he does.”
While his Perspectives’ teammates were out-matched by Whitney Young on Thursday, Davis displayed the overall game that took him from being an unknown to nationally renowned this summer.
Davis finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
“I can’t wait to see Anthony Davis on the floor will all the talent next year at Kentucky,” Rankin said. “He must get ready for teams to gang up on him. He needs to stay focused and keep attaching.”
Despite the lopsided score and Whitney Young focuses completely on Davis, he didn’t show any frustration. He stayed positive and continued to try to motivate his teammates.
“It’s been really tough,” Davis said. “We haven’t been playing to our abilities. I’m not trying to be frustrated. I’m trying to keep everything quiet and calm. I think we can still turn it around. It’s a long season left.”