Gratz' White a tiny tower of power

Posted: January 24, 2014

AT 5-10, SIMON GRATZ senior power forward Qasim White doesn't exactly tower over anyone the court, save for a few teammates.

However, don't tell that to White. While you're at it, don't say it to Southern High, either. White scored 23 of his 25 points in a second half that secured the Bulldogs' 67-60 Public League B triumph against the Rams yesterday.

"It was a great win," White said. "My teammates made me look good. I played aggressive. I'm only 5-10, but my coaches molded me into the guy I need to be to produce for the team."

Modesty notwithstanding, White also grabbed six rebounds in addition to his 7-for-13 performance from the field. He also made 11 of 14 attempts at the foul line.

But, a sub-6-foot power forward?

White reports being 5-10 since about sixth grade. That's when he developed a knack for banging down low. A behemoth by middle-school standards, of course, he had his eyes set on NBA height.

"Of course," he laughed. "That's every guy's dream, to be the tallest guy on the court. But, it didn't happen that way. I'm just really trying to be the best I can on anybody's team."

For Gratz (10-6, 7-2), 5-foot junior guard Chris Howser-Dinkins added nine points on three triples. He also supplied five steals and five assists. Malik Tyndale, a 5-9 senior guard, contributed eight points, five steals and three helpers.

"Every time we go to a gym," White said, "our tallest guy is 6-4 [Nasir Campbell]. That's the average height for a guard on a high-level team. We go in there and we play aggressive."

The Rams (4-10, 3-6) controlled the game in the first half, but the Bulldogs surged late.

"In the second half, we played the way we were supposed to play," White said. "Our defense was great and brought the intensity up."

White, who lives in Strawberry Mansion, has his eye on a degree in business because "numbers have always been my thing."

He deferred credit to his teammates, but allowed himself a little, too, as an undersized power forward.

"I have to bring the aggression and the heart," he said. "And today that was the case. We needed that heart to get us going. That's what I have to prove for myself, because when people see me walk in as a forward, they look at me like, 'There's no way he can play.' But it's always fun proving people wrong."

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