Get to Know Your Prospect Better: D.J. White

With the draft only three days away, you're going to hear a lot of names get bounced around as players the Wizards could be looking at with their picks.  Scouting reports and highlight reels can help you get a feel for some of the players, but nothing can replace the knowledge and insight that you get from watching a player on a night-in, night-out basis.

In order to get that kind of feel, you really need to talk to someone that's a true fan of the team.  And if you want a more informed feeling for who you're looking at, it always helps if you can find a couple of bloggers who follow the university's athletic program.  With that in mind, we're enlisting the help of some of the college hoops bloggers out there to get a better feel for some of the players the Wizards might end up drafting. 

For this segment, we're turning to Inside The Hall for some insight on D.J. White.

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In what areas do you think DJ will be able to contribute on an NBA team?

Inside The Hall: He'll be able to contribute on both ends -- particularly on the boards. He averaged a double-double senior year and that led to Big Ten Player of the Year honors. That being said: DJ won't be dominant on the offensive end. White's got a few moves around the hoop -- a turnaround little baby jumper comes to mind -- and developed some decent range senior year. But as a projected late first round to early second round pick, don't expect him to blow the doors off anybody offensively.

Indiana was among the top 40 in defensive efficiency last season, how big of a role did White play in that ranking?

ITH: He played a big role. He was the anchor down low for IU; White blocked and altered shots at a good clip and for the most part stayed out of foul trouble. For as long as I've been following the team, the Hoosiers have always struggled to recruit big men of high value. (And in the Tom Crean era, that trend, for now, has continued.)  White was certainly the exception to this last year.

The Wizards have some experience with Hoosiers, drafting Jared Jeffries in 2003 and Calbert Cheaney in 1993.  Where does DJ fall on the list of Indiana greats in relation to Jeffries and Cheaney?

ITH: Tough to say. If you go by statistics, Cheaney is the all-time leading scorer at both IU and in the Big Ten. He played on some fantastic teams in the early 90s as well. Jeffries doesn't have the numbers Cheaney does, but he only played two years before going pro. I think White's legacy at IU is a strong one regardless of where he matches up with those two.. He had to endure, not one, but two coaching changes during his tenure. No one deserves that. Even after fellow Alabama native Mike Davis got peaced, he stayed loyal to IU. And last year, when IU was firing on all cylinders and looked poised to make a deep run in the tournament until the Sampson debacle came crashing down and effectively killed the season, White stayed strong and played well. Not the same could be said for everyone on the squad.

He was fiercely loyal in times of adversity. Indiana basketball fans love him for that.

Is White better suited for an up-tempo game, or is he more effective in half-court sets?

ITH: White is best suited for a half-court game. He doesn't get up and down the floor all that well and runs funny. This is not to say he can't go up-tempo. There were times last season when IU pushed the pace and his game didn't suffer. He's just a bit better suited in the half court.

Obviously, there was a lot of commotion regarding White and some of his other teammates skipping the first practice after Kelvin Sampson was fired and the tailspin the Hoosiers went into late in the season.  Would you say that whole saga demonstrated a lack of character on White's part or was he a victim of a bad situation?

ITH: Victim of an awful situation. If there is one overriding thing that was said about DJ during last year -- and especially echoed on our site by us and by commenters --  is White is as high character as they come. A class act through and through. A hard worker, fan favorite and a guy that by all accounts had his stuff together in the classroom. (The same kind of things were obviously not the case with a good lot of guys on the team. This is why they've been dismissed.)

I think Dan Dakich summed up that whole situation best when he took over as interim coach.  He basically said, "Hey, these are 18- to 22- year-old kids, 25-26 games into the season. They have emotions over a man and coach they loved. I don't blame them; I knew they'd be back. I wasn't about to demand they come."

Speaking to a point I made previous, this was DJ's second coaching change he had to endure during the season. (Davis still coached out the year, but he announced he would not be back before season's end.) That's tough for anybody, especially a young kid. So I think one isolated incident in which he decided to boycott a practice shouldn't speak to his entire tenure.

Many thanks to Inside The Hall for agreeing to this Q&A and for their great answers.  If you're looking for a great Hoosiers blog, or if you just want to check out a site that has Calbert Cheaney in the header, I would highly recommend checking them out.

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