White and Stokes pack one-two punch in Prime Time debut

BY MATT CABEL | JUNE 21, 2013 5:00 AM

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They don’t share the court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Their names are never announced alongside each other in any starting lineup.

But anything goes in the summer Prime Time League, and on opening night, forwards Aaron White and Darius Stokes shared the starting lineup for their team and formed a tandem that proved to be a terror beneath the basket.

“During the season, I don’t get as many minutes,” Stokes said. “Prime Time gives me a bit of a chance to showcase a bit of what I have — I just tried to come out today and be aggressive.”

The duo combined to score 45 of their team’s points in the 104-96 loss to Mike Gesell’s and OK Ukah’s team. But White believes the outcome would have been different had Stokes not rolled his ankle with 8:48 remaining in the second half.

“If he stays in, I think the game’s a little bit closer,” he said. “He’s a great athlete; he really helped us out on the boards and in transition.”

With White sitting on the bench at the 10-minute mark of the first half, Gesell and his teammates were able to open up the floor and penetrate the lane without his presence in the post.

But they forgot about Stokes, who rose off the ground, hurled his arm back and sent the ball flying toward half court as a member of Gesell’s team tried to drive the lane early in the first half. Stokes also grabbed 8 rebounds in the game.

“Whitey is a great offensive player; he had some big-time dunks,” said guard Gesell, who scored 28 points and dished out 11 assists. “Stokes is always crashing [the boards]. You always have to have a body on him — he’s tough to keep out of the lane.”

Stokes wowed the crowd with a two-handed jam off a fast break two minutes into the second half, and White responded the next possession with a one-handed, left-hand jam.

“[Darius and I] were just having fun out there,” White said. “You always want to put on a good show … It’s a great opportunity for us to play in front of fans who sometimes don’t get out for a game … that’s kind what [the dunking is about] — just playing for the fans and trying to show them something they want.”

While White provides a household name for Iowa basketball fans, Stokes is better known for the excitement he shows off the bench. But Gesell said that the junior has a high work ethic and extreme athleticism that allows him to grab difficult rebounds.

White said what people don’t realize is how much the Cedar Rapids native loves the game of basketball.

“[Stokes] might not get the minutes that he probably wants, but he works his tail off and really loves being a part of this team,” White said. “He dedicates himself. I have a lot of respect for guys like that, who aren’t getting a scholarship but work as hard as anyone else.”

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