Iowa's White selected to Team USA

BY CODY GOODWIN | JULY 01, 2013 5:00 AM

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By June 29, when the final cuts were made for Team USA, Aaron White’s comments seemed almost prophetic. Nine days earlier, on June 20 — after White’s only Prime Time League game of the summer — he explicitly stated that he wanted to “make the team and assert [himself] as one of the top players in the country.”

White had just completed a 29-point, 14-rebound performance in a 104-96 losing effort against Mike Gesell’s summer-league team. Reporters gathered afterwards and asked the Strongsville, Ohio, native about his summer plans.

“I’m trying not to be [in Iowa City],” White said then. “I hope to be in Russia … it’d be nice not to be here.”

Nine days later, White got confirmation that he will, in fact, travel to Russia as a member of Team USA. White recently made the 12-man roster for the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team.

White’s addition to Team USA bodes well for coach Bob McKillop — who normally coaches Davidson — as his versatility allows for myriad schemes and game plans for McKillop and his staff.

The Hawkeye was slotted as a center for the Team USA training camp out in Colorado Springs, Colo., where a list of 26 talented men’s college basketball players dwindled to the official 12-man roster in a matter of days.

Over the course of the camp, White played both in the post and alongside Alex Kirk — New Mexico’s 7-foot center — where his high-level of energy and impact around the rim was seen as a plus by the coaches and selection committee.

“We have guys who can play more than one position; that’s one of the great strengths we have,” McKillop said in a release. “I think we shoot the ball particularly well from a number of positions, and we’ve got guys who want to be teammates.

“Those two things, to me, are the biggest advantages that we have or the biggest strengths for our team.”

White and Team USA will compete in Kazan, Russia on July 7-16. In doing so, White becomes the first Iowa men’s basketball player to don a Team USA jersey in the World University Games since Greg Brunner, who made the 2005 squad.

That year, Brunner and his USA teammates went 8-0 in Turkey and brought home the gold medal.
Brunner’s Team USA was also the last U.S. World University Game team to win the gold medal. In the two previous World University Games, the United States came up short — led by then-Ohio State Buckeye Evan Turner, the 2009 squad won bronze, and the Marcus Denmon-led 2011 team finished even worse at fifth.

White likely won’t be the leader of this year’s group. Early indications point to Indiana’s Will Sheehey as being the guy that will lead this team on the court.

But perhaps this kind of experience will give White the confidence he needs to lead the 2013-14 Iowa team to the NCAA Tournament.

“We are extremely proud and excited for Aaron White to have earned a spot on the USA World University Games roster,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said in a release. “Being able to represent your country and play in a tournament of this caliber is a tremendous opportunity. … This experience will give him incredible confidence heading into next season.”

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