UNC Basketball: Can Stillman White Step Up For The Tar Heels?


Today I’m taking two different looks at the new look Tar Heels without Dexter Strickland.  Be sure to check out Part I HERE.

UNC fans I’m about to introduce you to a young man named Stillman White.  I’m sure you’ve heard of him, seen him around, here and there.  I’m quite confident though that most of Tar Heel nation really doesn’t have a clue about Mr.White.  Before Dexter Strickland’s now famous torn ACL, he didn’t really matter.  An emergency point guard playing less than four minutes per game (in 15 played).  A freshman sitting at the end of the bench with Blue Steel and Jackson Simmons.  Basically he was some guy holding a roster spot for Marcus Paige, UNCs next star point guard recruit.  Well, that’s out the window, UNC needs White now, especially after coach Roy Williams came out and declared he would see an increased role with Strickland’s injury.

Stillman White was a late addition to the 2011 recruiting class in hopes of adding depth at the PG spot.  The Tar Heels were in a curious situation at the position this recruiting year.  Roy already has Kendall Marshall, likely to stick around for at least one more year.  Then he had a commit from 2012 star Marcus Paige and was close to landing 2013 star Nate Britt (since has committed).  But he lost Larry Drew III after the crybaby ran away when he got benched, so he needed insurance.

It’s not like Roy could have just went out and grabbed up any old PG and put him in Carolina blue.   White however offered a unique situation.  A Mormon, White will leave UNC after this, his freshman season and go on a missionary retreat.  That means, he leaves a roster spot, and a scholarship.  Making it an ever more perfect match, White is a NC product who has shown some potential, especially shooting the rock.

After the jump, can White step up and be a key player in the Tar Heel rotation?

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White was a superstar at his high school, breaking all kinds of records.  A shoot first, scoring point guard, he obviously has to adjust his mindset.  In his limited playing time thus far with the Heels.  That doesn’t seem to be a problem.  But White will also have to be ready, especially from beyond the arc if he really wants to help UNC.  What the team could use the most right now is just a steady hand.  Already an excellent free throw shooter, if White can come in and be a Bobby Frasier type of player he could be extremely valuable.  More than people realize, this team needs players on the floor who won’t turn the ball over and will knock down foul shots.

White is not the athlete any other player in the rotation is at UNC.  In fact, he’s a far cry from even the worst athlete of the others.  White’s basketball IQ is something he needs to lean on.  Even though he will handle the point, it’s not like he’s going to have the ball in the half court offense all that much.  White needs to learn to play with his head, move with out the ball and be a reliable spot up shooter.  Something I firmly believe could help spark this team to a national title would be White becoming a key role player.  A Frasier as I compared him earlier, or a Steve Kerr of sorts, a guy with zero athleticism, tons of hustle and a sweet jumper to tie it all together.  More than that, UNC needs White to be able to push the ball and get the team into transition.  That’s the mission of Stillman White.  Can he get it done?  I personally question if he has the ball handling skills to adequately push the ball.  White seems confident as he told ESPN.

“I have confidence in myself; I know I can get the job done,’’ White said Tuesday. “It’s not like they’re asking too much of me, to play most of the game. I just need to give Kendall some relief, and hopefully I can do that and do a good job.”

Think back to the 05 championship when freshman Quentin Thomas sucked it up so bad the team had to go with Melvin Scott.  That’s what I’m afraid, this team is going to need to do in the end.   It would be great if White stepped up and gave the team a solid 8-10 minutes off the bench each game.  But up until now, the job he’s done on the floor in his role up until now, he hasn’t proven to me he can do much of anything.   Roy Williams has shown cautious optimism in his praise of White.  Saying he has looked good on the practice court while also saying the team will employ lineups without a pure ball handler from time to time also.

Tar Heel fans should watch how White handles the trap, how quickly he gets the ball up the floor, how many long passes he delivers.  Not how many points he scores or how many assists he totals.  Roy’s substitution pattern over the next few ballgames will also be interesting.  When and for how many minutes will Roy go without a true point?  Who will handle the ball primarily in those situations?  How much pressure is this going to put on Kendall Marshall?  Can he handle the extra minutes?  All things could be vital to the rest of the season for UNC.

Keep It Heel!

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