Ohio Wesleyan University student Greg White ’13 traveled to Lublin, Poland, this month to participate in the first Under 21 World Deaf Basketball Championship. White and his USA teammates defeated Lithuania in the finals, with White racking up 16 points and 10 rebounds in the 78-73 championship game.
Because of his accomplishment, White, a wing forward, was named one of the five players to the All-Tournament First Team.
“I grew up in a hearing world and by joining the U21 Team I am going back to my roots,” says White, who was born with a hearing defect and received a cochlear implant in eighth grade. “As a result, I have gotten a greater appreciation for both the hearing and deaf culture.”
The Under 21 World Deaf Basketball Championship featured 12 countries including the United States, Poland, Great Britain, Estonia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Israel, Russia, Canada, Turkey, Sweden, and Lithuania. Both men’s and women’s bracket were represented.
“Even though the USA team has been soundly defeating the other countries, after the games the other teams seemed appreciative that they had the opportunity to play a better team,” says White, a Dayton, Ohio, resident who attended Centerville High School. “Before every game, we do a traditional pin exchange and after the game we do a picture of both teams together.”
The championship is held by the Deaf International Basketball Federation, founded in 1998 in Turkku, Finland. The federation works to raise standards and core values of deaf basketball players around the world through clinics and camps. The newly founded Under 21 World Deaf Basketball Championship was created to encourage players under 21 to participate in the international tournament.
Asked to compare the international team and OWU’s basketball team, White says: “For my OWU team, it was about meeting people from different states with a similar interest in basketball, opposed to my U21 USA Deaf Team, where it was about meeting people from different countries with a similar interest in basketball. Despite the difference between both teams, they both share the same message. Even though people come from different backgrounds, they’re still unified by the game of basketball.”