We thought this honor might be coming after White put the cherry on top of a delectable ice cream sundae of a basketball week with his game-clinching steal (and subsequent six straight free throw makes), but it's awfully nice to see it confirmed all the same. Aaron White is your Big Ten Player of the Week:
The distinction comes after White put together an absolute corker of a week, averaging 25.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in Iowa's wins over Illinois and Penn State. He shot a sizzling 56.5% from the field (13/23), made 60% of his long-range efforts (3/5, all in the Illinois game), and perhaps most importantly, was a cold-blooded assassin at the free throw line, draining 87.5% (21/24) of his freebies, including several with the game on the line. He was a perfect 10/10 on free throws in the final minute of the game or in overtime last week. It was a masterful performance in a very tight spot.
His performance against Penn State was particularly excellent -- in addition to those game-icing free throws, White nearly had the game-winning bucket in regulation (off a flawlessly executed alley-oop with Josh Oglesby). And his steal in overtime -- The Steal -- was the the sort of play that should live long in the memory of Hawkeye fans. That was a big-time play from a big-time player in the biggest moment of the game.
The only surprising thing about this accolade for White is learning that it's the first time he's received Big Ten Player of the Week honors. White's had an excellent career at Iowa and produced a host of strong games for the Hawkeyes over the last four years. If anything, that note probably highlights the role of luck and timing in winning POW honors -- not only do you need to string together good performances, but you need to do it at the same time that another player on another team doesn't produce a pair of even better performances. That isn't always easy to do. Still, it's nice to see Aaron White earning a Big Ten Player of the Week award before his Iowa career ends in a few weeks -- it's a very nice piece of recognition for a player who's been among the best in the Big Ten for the past few years and it comes after (arguably) his best week yet.
So full congratulations to White on the honor and for his brilliant play of the last week. Our only hope is that it's just the beginning of what we can hope to see from White over the next few weeks as he wraps up his Iowa career.