For the first time
in over two decades EDIT: since 2005, an Iowa basketball player will be representing the United States of America in international play.
Aaron White made the final cut of the 2013 World University Games tryouts, and was named to the 12-man roster on Saturday. As noted earlier this week, this means White is getting on a plane for Russia (where the games are held) almost immediately; the team flies out on Monday to begin roughly a week's worth of practices before the upcoming games.
Here's the official release from the USA Basketball site, and here is Aaron White's unofficial release which we prefer for obvious reasons:
One thing worth noting, and something we don't entirely understand: according to the new official roster, White is listed as a center on the team, which lists White at 6'8" and 218 pounds (same as his Iowa measurements). White isn't a center. He's a good finisher in the paint, but you can't go to international competition with one of your two centers at 6'8" and 218. Hell, you can usually find a center that big in the Central Iowa Metro League.
To be fair, the only two forwards on the roster as big as White are Doug McDermott (whom nobody will ever confuse for a center on the court) and Adreian Payne (another large wing with a decent post game). Past that the forwards are a melange of 6'5" and 6'6" guys. So White might be a third center by default, we suppose.
But considering the SI.com reports that White had played his way into contention based on his play alongside New Mexico's Alex Kirk—who just so happens to be a center—it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to throw the two guys at the same position.
This may be a distinction without a difference if White doesn't spend much of his court time playing the 5 and working a role similar to what we've seen out of him in an Iowa jersey, but if that's the case... can't they just go ahead and call him a forward?
Anyway, our momentary confusion aside, we are thrilled for Mr. White and we wish him the best of luck out in Russia. And if you think we haven't already started brainstorming a bastardized version of Rocky's speech from the end of Rocky IV for when the USA inevitably wins the gold in a few weeks, you're crazy.
BONUS! Judging by this (very) brief highlight clip from the try-outs, White has been doing some of the same things for Team USA that he's done for Iowa the last few years (DUNK L'ORANGE):