Joe Small isn't--in size or in stature.
Small, a bulky 6-foot 2-inch guard at Bolsa Grande High School, averages 22.3 points per game and is the Matadors' floor leader. Twice last week, Small found himself with the ball and the game on the line in the final seconds.
Both times Small, The Times' player of the week, came up with a big play. Once, it gave the Matadors (12-5 overall, 5-2 in league) a one-point victory, but the other time it wasn't enough to help Bolsa Grande win.
In the Matadors' 75-74 victory over Kennedy Friday night, Small had 28 points and made a game-winning free throw with one second left. Against Los Amigos Wednesday, Small made a three-point shot at the buzzer and the Matadors lost, 66-65.
Small thought he was fouled on the shot, but the officials didn't agree. Still, Small finished as Bolsa Grande's leading scorer with 23 points.
"We thought we should have won (against Los Amigos)," Small said. "We had a 13-point lead with only five minutes left. Everybody wanted to win the Kennedy game."
Kennedy came into Friday's game in first place with a 6-0 Garden Grove League record. Bolsa Grande was 4-2 and in second place.
Small started slowly, scoring only six points in the first half as Kennedy controlled the game.
"I was really getting frustrated," Small said. "Their zone extended so far out that I couldn't get the ball. I got my first shot blocked and my second shot was an air ball."
Small broke out of his slump in a big way. He had 22 points in the second half to lead Bolsa Grande to victory.
"Joe is deceptive a bit," Bolsa Grande Coach Ron Inman said. "He doesn't really look like a basketball player. He's not really tall and skinny. He's a bit on the chunky size.
"But he's a quick jumper. It's the same with his release on his shot. He's got a really quick release."
Bolsa Grande High
Height, Class: 6-2, Sr.
Last Week: Scored 28 points Friday, including the game-winning free throw in a 75-74 victory over Kennedy. Scored 23 points in a 66-65 loss to Los Amigos Wednesday.
Season: Averaging 22.3 points for Bolsa Grande (12-5, 5-2).