White shares Final Four experience

Prior to last weekend, Andrew White had experienced a taste of the passion that surrounds Kansas basketball during his official visit in September - but just a taste. During his trip to the Final Four, he developed a new level of appreciation for what it means to be a future Jayhawk, and a new level of respect for his future teammates.

Prior to last weekend, Andrew White had experienced a taste of the passion that surrounds Kansas basketball.

He made his official visit before the season even began, attending the program's "Legends of the Phog" alumni event, and got to share in the experience with 16,000-plus at Allen Fieldhouse as many of the greatest living players to take the court in Lawrence, Kan. did so once again.

But seeing it at Allen Fieldhouse is one thing. Traveling to New Orleans and seeing the love on the road, Jayhawk Nation traveling in droves, is quite another.

"I was just proud of the way the team carried themselves and represented the school," the 6-foot-6, 210-pound senior wing from Charlottesville (VA) The Miller School said. "Being there for the Final Four, that was the first time I really got to witness for the first time what the program was about. They've got great fan support, they play hard, they're extremely unselfish."

During Kansas' run to the title game, which he witnessed live at the Superdome, it was the toughness of his future teammates that stood out the most, and made him proud to call himself a future Jayhawk.

"Everybody on their team is tough," White said. "When I see them making those runs, It hunk of that 6 a.m. conditioning practice they do before the season (Boot Camp). I speak to the players, and they just tell you Coach (Bill) Self tries to get you mentally tough."

Though they fell short of a national championship, their gritty performances served only to heighten the excitement he feels at joining the program next year.

Few nationally - even among Kansas fans - expected the Jayhawks to make it to the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament. White knows those expectations will now be transferred to next year, with a strong core returning along with a talented freshman class, and he embraces them.

White is known for his skills as a sharpshooter, and he said the staff wants him to come ready to hit outside shots, rebound and, of course, defend.

Do that, and he feels he can contribute to an outstanding team right away.

"I just want to get there and hopefully have a good career starting early and possibly win a championship," White said. "Just being there around the team it made me want to win. I felt for those guys when they lost, and I'm not even on the team yet."

White will sign with the Jayhawks this month. Friday, he'll compete in the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic in Louisville, several other top players from the Class of 2012.


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