Aaron White remembers exactly where he was when his phone rang. Before his senior year of high school, White sat at home playing video games with good friend Ray Hamilton when Iowa coach Fran McCaffery and assistant Sherman Dillard called to offer a scholarship. Heralded high school basketball and football players can receive dozens of these offers from major programs, and Hamilton, who plays tight end at Iowa, was offered scholarships from several marquee football schools. But the memory of the phone call is so clear in White's mind because he says it was the only offer he received from a power conference school. A native of Strongsville, Ohio, White received more than 30 scholarship offers overall, but almost all from mid-major programs. He said other Big Ten programs such as Ohio State and Wisconsin showed interest but never offered a scholarship. Usually when that scenario unfolds, it means you're a mid-major player. White knew he could play in the Big Ten, and so did his summer-league coach, Mike Duncan, who runs the Ohio Basketball Club. "Aaron knows that he never got what he deserved," Duncan said in a telephone interview. "He sees guys that he knows he's better than and they got offers and he didn't. He has used that to push himself to get better." Now a junior at Iowa, White has seen his scoring average rise each season. And along with leading scorer Roy Devyn Marble, White's play is one of the prime reasons why 16th-ranked Iowa (14-3) is off to such a strong start and is a contender in the Big Ten. The versatility of the 6-9, 220-pound White is an ideal fit for McCaffery's up-tempo style. He can play either forward position and, during his career, has defended big men such as former Ohio State standout Jared Sullinger (6-9, 265 pounds) as well as guards such as former Indiana star Victor Oladipo (6-4). White leads the Big Ten in field-goal percentage. He is the only Big Ten player to average 15.5 points and 7.8 rebounds or better in conference play. White, who is now second in rebounding on the team, could also become the fifth player since 1960 to lead the Hawkeyes in rebounding three consecutive seasons. Last Sunday, White returned to Ohio and, playing in front of family and friends, had 19 points and 6 rebounds in the Hawkeyes' victory at Ohio State. Throughout his college career, White has tried to prove one thing to Big Ten opponents: They missed out. "The top-20 high school players, it's pretty set in stone," White said. "But after that, no one knows. You don't know work ethics. You don't know their desire to be great. That plays a huge role. If you have a greater desire than someone else, and they have more talent, sometimes the person with more desire wins out."
Iowa's Aaron White aims to prove doubters wrong
USA Today | Jan 18