July 1, 2013
- Read the June issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye Android app!
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — “Picture day” took on a new, special meaning for University of Iowa men’s basketball junior Aaron White on Sunday.
White, one of 12 players selected to the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team, had his first opportunity to slip on the coveted jersey with “USA” donning his chest.
“Putting it on is a fantastic experience, it’s something you dream of as a kid,” said White, a native of Strongsville, Ohio. “Being able to represent your country and do what you love to do in playing basketball against some of the best players in the country is a special thing.”
After making it through the first cut at the World University Games Training Camp, which eliminated 11 players, the remaining 16 collegians practiced Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. On Saturday, practice was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. — the players that were at practice made the team.
“This is a big step. It shows how hard I have worked at my game and how much better I have gotten since I was recruited as a freshman. I am trying to build my resume and keep proving people wrong and playing at the highest level I can.”
UI junior Aaron White
“If you were in that practice, they congratulated you on making the team,” said White.
During the week-long training camp, White concentrated on doing the little things — that’s what he believes made him stand out and make the roster.
“I have been trying to make all the small plays that maybe you don’t see in the stat sheets or in the highlights because coach (Bob) McKillop really values that,” said White, one of four Big Ten players on the roster along with Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey and Michigan State’s Adreian Payne. “(Things like) keeping balls alive on the offensive glass, running the floor to open up lanes for the guards — a lot of those things, things I can do, coach McKillop likes.”
With the roster being being set, White says the USA coaching staff is stressing the value of this experience to the 12-player team.
“Coach McKillop, coach (John) Beilein, and coach (Frank) Martin tell us every day that you gain valuable experience from this that you can take to your school and help you win games,” said White. “That’s a big thing I am learning here. Every coach coaches a little differently, so you learn new things every day and you gain confidence playing against some of the top players in college basketball.”
Being selected to the team is validation for White that the work he has put in has paid off.
“This is a big step,” he said. “It shows how hard I have worked at my game and how much better I have gotten since I was recruited as a freshman. I am trying to build my resume and keep proving people wrong and playing at the highest level I can.”
After departing for Russia on July 1, the USA will practice on July 3-6 in Kazan before playing in a pair of exhibition contest. The 2013 World University Games begin July 7.
The USA has drawn preliminary round Group C, along with Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Sweden, and United Arab Emirates. Following the preliminary round, the first and second-placed teams in each of the four pools advance to the medal quarterfinals on July 14 to compete for first through eighth places. The remaining teams will play out for ninth to 24th places. The semifinals will be played on July 15, and the finals will be contested on July 16.
“I can’t wait to leave (Monday),” said White. “I can’t wait to compete in Russia, and hopefully we can bring back a gold medal.”