Iowa star Aaron White closing out standout career with a flourish

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — In a March 5 story, The Associated Press erroneously reported that former Iowa basketball player Matt Gatens was on the team in 2013. Gatens graduated following the 2012 season. A corrected version of the story is below.

Iowa's Aaron White closing out career

Iowa star Aaron White closing out standout career with a flourish

By LUKE MEREDITH

AP Sports Writer

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Senior forward Aaron White arrived in Iowa City as a scrawny kid that few outside of suburban Cleveland had ever heard of.

He'll leave as one of the greatest players the Hawkeyes have ever had.

White's career with Iowa has far exceeded even his own modest expectations. From posting a double-double in his freshman debut to averaging 23.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in his last three games, White has been a key cornerstone for coach Fran McCaffery during his five-year tenure.

White and the Hawkeyes (20-10, 11-6 Big Ten) host Northwestern on Saturday in search of their first six-game Big Ten winning streak in 28 years.

"I think his own self-confidence, his own belief that he could be great, and his desire to do what it takes to be great (has made him successful)." McCaffery said. "Not everybody has that, and he's got it."

White entered the starting lineup as a freshman in 2011-12 and immediately gave the fledging Hawkeyes a boost.

White's recent form is the main reason Iowa has answered for last season's late collapse with a surge that has it primed for another NCAA tournament trip.

White was so lightly recruited out of Strongsville, Ohio that his only high-major offer was from McCaffery, who was coming off an 11-20 season and needed help anywhere he could find it.

McCaffery found it right away in White.

White became the first Iowa freshman in 69 years to post a double-double in his career debut. He also led the Hawkeyes in rebounding that season and was second in blocks and third with 11.1 points per game

But it was the 16 points he scored in the second half of a stunning road upset of No. 11 Wisconsin that proved to White and the Hawkeyes that he could be an impact player in the Big Ten.

"Still, even four years later, I probably think that's when I realized I was better than I thought I was," White said.

White averaged 12.8 points as a sophomore and junior — although his shooting skyrocketed from 46.8 to 58.4 last year.

The Hawkeyes needed a star turn out of White this season after Marble left for the NBA.

White has been the one constant for a team that's been up, down and back up again as the postseason approaches.

Despite a nagging inability to consistently knock down jumpers, White is the only player in the country averaging at least 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line.

"His cerebral approach to this game is on another level, and that's really helpful in any sport, that you have that kind of feel for 'What can I do right now, what does my team need me to do?' He's got tremendous confidence in himself, so if he does make a mistake, it rarely leads to more," McCaffery said.

White's averages of 15.6 points and 7.3 rebounds this season are career highs, and he's third in school history in points (1,768) and fourth in rebounds (873).

But White also remembers watching the Hawkeyes fall to Minnesota in front of a half-empty gym while on his official recruiting visit.

So for White, the lasting legacy he's left as a program-changing player stands out the most as his career comes to a close.

"People can ask about personal accolades, stats, obviously All-Big Ten stuff. The most proud I am is how much the program has changed in the four years I've been here," White said. "Especially in my last two years here, we've turned it around not only locally but nationally, I think."


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