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Trazarien White proves skeptics wrong

The undersized UNCW forward averaged 14.2 points and 5.9 rebounds last season

NCAA Basketball: NC-Wilmington at Oklahoma
Trazarien White was named to the Second Team All-CAA last season while leading the team in scoring and rebounding.
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

It all began in Douglas, Ga., a town of just over 11 thousand people. Now, Trazarien White is leading UNC Wilmington to the top of the Colonial Athletic Association.

“There isn’t a lot to do in Douglas,” White said. “Growing up as a kid, I wasn’t that active... I wasn’t into sports or anything like that.”

White’s life changed at age six when his family moved to Texas due to his father’s job. As White settled in, he didn’t even know where basketball could take him.

“The move to Texas was one of the best things that has happened in my life... Basketball was my last sport. I wasn’t very good. I was short, and it wasn’t looking too bright. I’d never guess I’d be a DI basketball player... In high school, I was never confident. I couldn’t dribble, couldn’t shoot, but I tried to outwork my opponents.”

White gave basketball a chance, and even though it started off poorly, he continued.

He attended Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas, where he averaged 19 points and 22 rebounds as a senior. Furthermore, White was named All-District, All-State and All-State Tournament during this year.

To White’s frustration and dismay though, his recruitment hadn’t taken off, even with the outstanding numbers and accolades. White ended up having a sole DI offer from Air Force Academy and elected to commit. White often heard the words “undersized big.”

His time at Air Force was brief and he opted for the junior college. He joined Collin College.

“At the Air Force, I messed it up,” White said. “My basketball career was going downhill... I had an offer from Collin Juco, and I took it. I had nothing to lose and I wanted to just show what I could do.”

White wasted no time at the JuCo level. In his first game, he finished with 23 points. He averaged 18.5 points and 7.1 rebounds while shooting 53.5% from the floor.

In the conference semifinal against Grayson, he notched 35 points and 13 rebounds.

White’s next stop was in Division I. He had committed to UNCW due to his outstanding relationship with current assistant coach Kurt Kanaskie.

“Kurt Kanaskie was the only coach who really ever recruited me,” White said. “He recruited me all the way back. He believed in me in high school while no one else did.”

White, who was often looked at as undersized, led the team in offensive rebounds as a freshman.

In 32 games played, White started 23. He averaged 6.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 offensive rebounds.

“It felt unreal,” he said. “I kept working, and it ended up benefiting me in the end.”

After White’s stellar freshman year at UNCW, he recalled his previous stops and road bumps.

“At Air Force I realized you have to want it for yourself,” he said. “At JuCo, you have to get it out of the mud. That brought out the dog in me.”

White turned it up for his second season with Seahawks and hit the ground running. In their season opener against preseason No. 1 North Carolina, he tallied 19 points and 7 rebounds.

“I hit my first shot, but then the next few were bad,” he said. “During the second half, I went crazy.”

He finished the season with 14.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game with 34 starts as UNCW reached the CAA title game.

White is looking to lead UNCW to the big dance. He’s been to the conference championship game in each of his years in Wilmington but has yet to reach the NCAA Tournament.

“Everyday I’m trying to prove I am one of the guys who were overlooked,” White said. “Knowing where you come from, keep your head down and stay working.”