Up Close: Stilman White, Part II

WILMINGTON, N.C. --- Stilman White's game wasn't built with scouting reports in mind.

Scouting reports deal in extremes: strengths and weaknesses, tendencies and trends. White's game plays toward the middle. He's steady and polished; a capable scorer and passer; athletic and tough, but not overwhelmingly so.

But according to Hoggard coach Brett Queen, it's that lack of flair that makes White so valuable. He simply doesn't make many mistakes.

"He doesn't have any huge weaknesses in his game," Queen said. "I don't know that you could look at it and say there was one way he scored the majority of his points. He was just very balanced in how he produced."

White doesn't disagree with what is a rather vanilla assessment of his game.

"I play hard. I want to win. That's the main thing," White said. "I'm a decent shooter. I can handle the ball. I can just do all of the things a point guard needs to do. I just want to win and at the end of the day I'll do whatever it takes to do that."

White's versatility helped in his career at Hoggard where he was asked to play a lot of different roles. Early on he mostly distributed, deferring to more experienced guards for scoring and leadership. Last season however White was Hoggard's main scoring option, mostly out of necessity due to a void of consistent scorers.

White averaged over 20 points per game as a senior for the Vikings. As a slasher, White is crafty and strong around the basket. He's only 6-foot-1 but has a solid build and exceptional jumping ability. White consistently jumped center for the Vikings as a senior and was excellent at getting to the line. Of the 532 points he scored last season, over a fourth came at the free throw line.

"The thing that has always stuck out to us about him is his ability to finish plays around the basket with contact," Queen said. "A lot of guys, especially in high school, if they get any sort of contact, they really struggle to be able to make the shot. He did a great job to be able to finish plays with contact."

Behind the arc, White has good form and shoots a solid percentage, making 36 percent as a senior. But Queen thinks he's a better shooter -- and scorer, really -- than his numbers let on. Since White did so much for the Vikings each of his last two seasons, he ran out of gas late in the season.

"His shooting percentage is always higher at the beginning of the year because he has to play so many minutes," Queen said. "Down the conference stretch of the season he was playing 30 out of 32 minutes every night."

Queen estimated that White started the season shooting above 60 percent from three before his legs started to give out.

"With the wear and tear of having to play that many minutes and having that much focus on you, his percentage always declined a little bit as the season went on," Queen said. "I think he can be a very, very good shooter at the next level."

As a passer, White led Hoggard in assists with 3.1 per game but Queen said White's production as a passer should improve in college. Without many skilled post players at Hoggard, White missed out on a lot of assists he could've gotten on a team with better finishers.

Defensively, Queen expects White to make the transition to college smoothly. With exceptional lateral quickness and a good motor, White shouldn't have any problems staying in front of ball handlers. Queen said White is effective on the boards, too, referencing a 14-rebound performance in a game last season.

White said he thinks his athleticism in general is often overlooked. He considers himself a hard worker but is also capable of kicking it up a notch when he needs to.

"I'm more athletic than I get credit for," White said. "I can get up and throw a dunk down every now and then. I'm pretty quick."

The elephant in the room for a recruit like White is whether he can truly compete at a high-major level as an unheralded recruit. What can Carolina fans really expect out of him?

Having played against top-level competition in high school and AAU, White says it's not something he worries about. He's not concerned what his role will be -- that's not for him to decide, he said -- but he's certainly not scared.

"I know I can play with anyone," White said. "I'm just going to go in there and work my butt off. Whatever I get, I'm going to have to earn and I know that. But I'm going to be ready for it. Whatever they need, next year or down the road, whatever, I'll be willing to do."

Queen isn't quite as bashful with saying what he expects White's role to be next season, pointing to his recruitment as a good indication. According to Queen, White wasn't sold to North Carolina as an emergency point guard or a "just in case" recruit. He was recruited to allow all of UNC's guards to play their natural position and to be Kendall Marshall's backup.

"The whole premise of the recruiting was that they needed a backup point guard," Queen said. "He's not going to go in there and just settle for playing a couple minutes a game. He's going to try to do whatever he can to play as big a role as he can possibly play."

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