There's no doubt that the D.J. White IU fans will see this fall will be bigger, and it's a near certainty that he'll be better as well.
The better part of that equation is no small task. After all, the 6'9" sophomore is coming off a Big Ten Freshman of the Year season, averaging 13.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game in his debut season.
But White is convinced that his basketball bag has more tricks than those that he debuted a season ago. For one thing, White has been working to strengthen his perimeter game in the off-season adding a 3-point shot to an already polished game in the paint.
"I'm trying to mix up my game, show things that I know I have that people haven't seen before," said White. "This year I feel I can do it. I want to show my game this year – have fun and win. That's the main thing."
While the improvement on the perimeter will certainly make White an even tougher assignment for opposing big men, the biggest thing that he'll be able to throw at opponents is an additional 35 pounds.
White, who was listed at 235 pounds a year ago, actually said his weight dropped to 215 by the end of the season.
"That's way too low to be playing at my position at this level," said White.
But he said he's now up to 245-250, and he plans to do what he needs to do to maintain that weight once the season gets underway.
"I knew going into the off-season that I needed to put on weight," said White. "Last year during the season I lost a lot of weight. That's partly my fault, not eating enough. Now I know that, being a year older. I know I have to eat all the time to keep my weight up. I learned that from last year – you still have to eat and eat right and be healthy, keep weight on to compete."
White was able to put on some of that much-needed poundage in the spring when he was sidelined for two months after having surgery on his jaw. Following surgery, White was unable to play full contact until early in the summer, something that he admits was frustrating.
But while he was out, White said he returned home to Tusacaloosa, Ala.,where his mom helped him recuperate – as well as put on some of the weight that he had lost last winter.
"I was home in Alabama getting good cooking, my mom's food," said White. "That's when I put on most of my weight. Chicken, macaroni and sweet potatoes and collared greens – that's my favorite meal."
White hadn't necessarily envisioned relying on his mom's cooking to get his weight back up, but White did know that he needed to spend plenty of time at the dining table and in the weight room this summer.
"Adding weight and working on my game have been my biggest focuses this summer," said White. "My goal has been to get stronger, work on my outside shot a little bit, and just play stronger."
With each of those things accomplished, White appears poised to help the Hoosiers put the disappointment of 2005 behind them and move on to much bigger and much better things in 2005-06.
"We have everything that we need to be a really, really good team," said White. "We have a lot of talent. We just have to work hard and work together and see what happens."
What's Different With D.J.?
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