Bloomington, Ind. – The subject of whether D.J. White is staying or going hasn't been broached by Kelvin Sampson, but the new Hoosier head coach appears confident the 6-9, 242-pound sophomore will be back in Bloomington in the fall.
"I've never thought of him in terms of leaving, other than the information I got when I first got here," Sampson said.
When Sampson was first introduced as Indiana's head coach late last month, the speculation immediately turned to whether or not he'd have White and Robert Vaden in IU uniforms next season. Both expressed disappointment in the departure of Mike Davis and went as far to say they would give serious thought to following Davis to his next coaching destination.
While Vaden still appears headed out of town, White has backed off his initial statements about departing. After missing all but five games last season due to breaking his foot twice, the Tuscaloosa, Ala., native would have to sit out a second straight season if he did decide to transfer, a fact that certainly has to be a consideration for the 2005 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
While that would be a tough path for White to take, the Hoosiers would be equally crippled without White in the lineup. Indiana has only two other scholarship players taller than 6-6 scheduled to be on the roster next season – Ben Allen and Cem Dinc. While the recently-signed Mike White (6-6) will help up front, D.J. White is unquestionably expected to be the anchor of the team on both ends of the floor.
But indications are that White has been anything but a malcontent since Davis exited and Sampson entered. He's been at every one of IU's off-season conditioning workouts, and he's also been playing open gym regularly with his Hoosier teammates as well.
"D.J. has been at every workout, he's our hardest worker, he's our most enthusiastic guy," Sampson said.
In fact, Sampson had White host recently-signed junior college forward Mike White during his official visit to Bloomington last weekend, something that would suggest D.J. is on board for the future.
"There hasn't been a day that's D.J. and I haven't talked," Sampson said. "He called my cell phone last night at 10:30.
"I've never said, ‘D.J., are you staying?' And he's never said, ‘don't worry about it, I'm staying.' I just coach him."
Indications are Sampson will still be coaching him come October.
Is IU Still Right for White?
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