Sampson: White’s game just lacking a little nastiness

By Chris Korman
331-4353 | [email protected]
December 1, 2006
After coaching D.J. White for five games, Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson has figured out what the big power forward’s game is lacking.
It is not touch around the net. Or proper footwork in the lane. Or better rebounding instincts.
It’s nastiness.
“You know what D.J. needs to do?” Sampson said Thursday at a press conference before practice. “He needs to get a swagger, man. You gotta bust open them bar doors, walk in and say, ‘Who wants a piece of me?’ You know what that is? That’s an attitude.”
White, the 6-foot-9 preseason All-Big Ten selection, was not made available to the media Thursday and could not respond to his coach’s thoughts. No players were available for comment.
Sampson’s challenge to White comes after the Hoosiers’ 54-51 loss at Duke. White had just seven points and six rebounds in the game, but was instrumental in slowing down the Blue Devils. He held their star forward, Carmel grad Josh McRoberts, to seven points.
White leads Indiana in scoring (12.6 per game) and rebounding (7.2). He missed most of last season with two separate foot injuries and has been described as being “rusty” by Sampson this season.
But now it appears as though a grace period has passed, and Sampson wants his star to be more assertive on the court.
“You gotta be the biggest, baddest dude in the joint,” Sampson said. “Somebody wants to mess with me? ‘C’mon lets’ go outside, let’s see what you got.’ That’s what he needs. He needs to get a little nastier. He needs to get meaner.”
When asked if such an attitude could be taught, Sampson replied, “We’ll find out, hoss.”

Mean enough
Sampson praised the other White, junior college transfer Mike, for his effort against Duke. Mike White had eight rebounds, three on offense and five on defense, against Duke. He did so playing against McRoberts (6-10) and Brian Zoubeck (7-1). White is listed at 6-6 by Indiana but Sampson called him “six four and a half or six five.”
Mike White also went to the free throw line seven times, but hit only two of those shots.

He played 25 minutes — his previous high this season was 10 — because of Lance Stemler’s injury and Ben Allen’s foul trouble.
“Don’t expect Mike to be what he’s not,” said Sampson, who reminded the media that White was a late singing. “Mike did an unbelievable job.”
Allen improving
Sampson said he thought Allen played with more confidence on Tuesday.
“I saw a difference,” Sampson said. “His body language was different. You can tell a lot about a guy by how aggressive he is.”
Allen grabbed six rebounds in 16 minutes before fouling out. Sampson believes Allen was merely unlucky Tuesday and will not be a chronic fouler.
Allen made just one bucket, but it came on an impressive push through the lane.
“It’s hard to fault Ben for his effort the other night,” Sampson said. “I think when we get consistency in our guards, Ben will play better.”
Stemler still out
Lance Stemler, who suffered a concussion after being inadvertently kicked in the head during Sunday’s practice, has still not been cleared by doctors.
Stemler, also a junior college transfer, is now second on the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game. He’s shooting .500 (12-24) from 3-point range.

 

2 comments

  1. I am happy that Sampson has positive words about Ben Allen. He could be an important cog in the efficiency of this team.

  2. I was disappointed that Coach Sampson used the terminology that he did regarding D.J . White. I would have much preferred that he comment that he needed to be play more aggressively defensively &/or offensively etc. I hope he does not really want nasty or mean players. Basketball has enough thugs in the Pros and they have caused considerable damage to the image of the game and their respective teams. IU has successfully competed without “nasty or mean” players, fans or coaches for decades and I would be disappointed if that traditon was lost.

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