116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
By Rob Gray
AMES - When the buzzer sounded Saturday, it hit Royce White.
The versatile sophomore big man had just become the fourth Iowa State player to record a triple-double in the resounding 74-50 win at Texas A&M.
But history wasn't on his mind.
The 6-8, 270-pounder needed a bucket to vomit in.
“When you get that last sub and you know you're not going back in, that adrenaline just went down and that was it,” said White, who grabbed 18 rebounds while scoring 10 points and assisting on 10 baskets while still experiencing the lingering effects of the flu. “I saw the bucket. I saw (a reporter). And I didn't want (the reporter) to see me throwing up, but he caught me. I looked up and felt better. A little bit.”
White's game is obviously fully healthy and garnered effusive praise from Missouri coach Frank Haith, who likened the Cyclone forward to Magic Johnson.
“Let's keep that in this room,” ISU coach Fred Hoiberg said upon hearing about the comparison.
Haith - whose No. 9 Tigers play Hoiberg's Cyclones in Wednesday's 7 p.m. game at Hilton Coliseum -elaborated.
“He thrives on getting assists for his guys,” Haith said in the Big 12 coaches' teleconference. “Big hands. He's strong and he has great ball skills. Tremendous vision and a feel for the game.”
White shrugs when asked about his uniquely diversified skill set.
He wasn't always 6-8, he says, so needed to become adept at ball handling and passing in order to see floor time growing up.
He relishes dishing so much, scoring sometimes becomes secondary - to a fault.
And that's a longstanding White tendency.
“When I was younger I used to get benched a lot for passing too much and being right under the basket and kicking it out to guys for three,” said White, who averages a team-best 4.2 assists. “As I got older, I just learned to score the easy baskets.”
But the vision and unselfishness remains.
Now it's an invaluable asset, particularly on a team with high-percentage outside shooters such as Scott Christopherson, Chris Babb and Tyrus McGee.
“When you have a player that's that versatile, you can accomplish a lot of things,” Hoiberg said. “We took him out, gave him a little rest, I think, after eight minutes (at A&M). (Assistant coach) T.J. (Otzelberger) said, ‘You know, we might want to get Royce back in there. He's got nine rebounds and four assists. And two points.' So to put up those types of numbers in that short a stretch of time is pretty special.”
Including the two points.
Many players, particularly big men, would hit the double digit mark in scoring, then rebounding, then blocked shots or assists.
But not many players are like Royce White, who looks forward to big things for his team, not merely himself.
“Im happy to be playing well and I'm more happy that we're winning,” he said.