The entire Team USA experience was memorable for University of Iowa men’s basketball junior Aaron White.
“Being able to travel the world, play for Team USA, and with that group of guys and coaches, it was all a great experience,” said White. “I wish we would have played a little bit better, but as a whole, it was something I gained valuable knowledge.”
Team USA finished ninth at the World University Games, finishing with a 6-2 record, including a 97-70 victory over Finland in the final round. White played 15.4 minutes a game off the bench, averaging 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds. He shot 54.5 percent (18-of-33) from the field over the eight contests.
During White’s two-day return trip from Russia to the United States, he had time to reflect on the experience. He bounced back-and-forth on whether the Team USA was the right choice, rather than staying in Iowa City for individual workouts.
“There is no doubt going through this experience was the greater choice,” said White. “You can’t measure learning from coach (John) Beilein, coach (Bob) McKillop, and coach (Frank) Martin, who are known throughout the basketball world, against that level of talent, and practicing as much as we did.
“You can’t put a value on that practice experience, on top of the games, and learning to come off the bench. You can’t put a value on everything I gained throughout the trip.”
White says from a confidence standpoint, he got more out of the training camp and game experience than he could have gotten done in a summer of individual work in Iowa City.
“The confidence and mental stuff I learned outweighs (the physical development) because I didn’t really get to work on my game,” he said. “I didn’t add a new move, or get bigger or stronger, but I learned more about the game and myself. I learned more about leadership.”
White came off the bench for Team USA during the competition, something he hadn’t experienced since midway through his freshman season. It gave him a greater appreciation for his Hawkeye teammates.
“When you’re playing and getting all those minutes, you don’t think about your teammates that have to stay ready, stay loose, and keep their mind in the game,” said White. “I wish I could have done a better job of it.
“If you play two minutes, you have to make the most of those two minutes, and I don’t think I did that every time I stepped on the floor. I am translating that for me being a leader here.”
(release courtesy of hawkeyesports.com)