Aaron White gaining attention, wisdom from summer camps

BY KYLE MANN | JULY 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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Aaron White is preparing this summer to take charge of a men’s basketball program on the rise, and as a player who has had success in the past, people around the country are taking notice of the potential breakout star.

White returned from the LeBron James Skills Academy this week, which took place from July 9-12. Coming on the heels of the Kevin Durant Skills Academy, White wasn’t expecting to receive an invitation for his second high-profile camp of the summer.

“I did my thing at the Kevin Durant camp, came home, and was excited to get the invitation to the LeBron camp,” White said. “I know that between the time I got home and getting the invitation, none of the coaches talked to Nike, so it didn’t have anything to do with the school. It more had to do with Nike or the NBA guys wanting to see me at the next camp.”

The 6-9 forward was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team in 2012, and he has improved each year since. White posted his best season in 2013-14, with 12.8 points per game — as second fiddle to Devyn Marble — on a very impressive 58 percent shooting, an increase of more than 10 percentage points over his sophomore season. He also led the team with 6.7 rebounds per contest.

Despite the promising start to his career and strong numbers, and despite Marble being drafted in June, it’s still a bit of a surprise to see Hawkeye players getting national attention as possible guys who could take their game to the next level.

Assistant coach Sherman Dillard, however, attended the camp and believes that he saw White hold his own competitively against some of the top players in the country.

“I think he put on a nice display for himself,” Dillard said. “In one of the very first drills they did, he had two 3s and a tenacious dunk in the span of about 15 minutes. He showed that he can matchup physically with those guys, can defend those guys, and he rebounded very well there.”

The confirmation from the LeBron camp is a delight to Hawkeye fans, but many who have seen White know that he is a genuinely talented basketball player.

“He’s a baller,” Dillard said. “He understands the game, is a skilled player for his size, because he can play on the perimeter a little bit as well as on the block, and is very crafty in how he can get open. He scores in a variety of ways, and the people in charge of inviting him saw those skills.”

White missed Week 4 of the Prime Time League to attend the camp, but Iowa swingman Jarrod Uthoff was matched up with White in Week 3. After practicing together every day, Uthoff knows one thing for certain about the senior.

“He’s got a knack to find the rim,” Uthoff said. “He’s very good at finding ways to score and get in near the bucket. He’s got a unique game.”

White has already established himself as a force in the Big Ten, but took away from the camp that at the level of professionals such as James or Durant, the work he puts in really will determine how successful he is.

“The biggest thing I took away from it is the intensity you have to play with,” White said. “[Monday] was my first day back, and in workouts, I was just trying to tell guys we really have to ramp up the intensity.  Whatever it might be, you’ve got to do it at a high level, because that’s how the game is played.”

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