116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES - Sharing means caring for Iowa State's Royce White.
It also translates to winning, given the 6-8, 270-pound forward's penchant for all-around altruism on the court.
“Yep,” White said when asked if he enjoys being double-teamed - as he was in Saturday's 77-70 win at Oklahoma. “I like assists better than points. I'd rather help a basket out than score myself. Sometimes that's an issue. Sometimes the team and coaches tell me to shoot it sometimes; that I'm being too unselfish, but I don't think there's really any such thing.”
The sophomore transfer's giving-is-better-than-receiving approach presents a quandary to Big 12 coaches, including Oklahoma State's Travis Ford.
The Cyclones (17-6, 7-3) seek a season sweep over Ford's Cowboys (11-12, 4-6) in Tuesday's 6 p.m. ESPN2-televised game at Stillwater.
So how to stop White? With one, or two guys? Defend the rim, or flood passing lanes on the perimeter?
“I don't know if there's any one way to guard him,” said Ford, who used three different players and a combination of schemes on White in the first meeting, which ISU won 71-68 on Scott Christopherson's buzzer-beating, banked-in 3-pointer. “It's a tough task for everybody.”
The double-team tactic employed Saturday by the Sooners led to open shots at the 3-point line for ISU.
Crisp, around-the-horn passing - often triggered by White - resulted in 15 Cyclone 3-pointers, matching a season high.
“We knew coming into the season that he was going to gain a lot of attention from the defense,” said ISU guard Chris Babb, who leads the team with 52 long-range hoops. “When a team like that tries to double team him, that plays right into our hands. Pretty much every shot we took against Oklahoma was a wide-open three. And we practice those every day. He knew that and we knew that.”
Babb nailed four threes against the Sooners. Chris Allen and Christopherson drained three each. Tyrus McGee and Melvin Ejim sank two apiece.
White doled out seven assists - and took one shot, a dunk with 1:39 left that helped seal the win.
“Arguably your best player is your most unselfish player,” said Cyclone coach Fred Hoiberg, whose team hopes to snap a 16-game skid at Stillwater. “I played with a couple guys like that in the NBA. It's a great thing to have. Sometimes you have selfish superstars, sometimes those aren't the best teams.”
White, who's always been a pass-first type of player, said sitting out last season created a greater appreciation for the value of giving, rather than filling it up.
“You see that flow really helps a game,” said White, the only player in the nation to lead his team in points (13.5), rebounds (9.3), assists (4.8), blocked shots (1.2) and steals (1.2). “Somebody can score 35 and they still lose. Getting everybody involved down the stretch - it's harder to guard a team.”