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December 12, 2007

White steps up game with Gordon sidelined

D.J. White, F, Indiana

It was hardly unusual to see Indiana junior forward D.J. White post two double-doubles in two Indiana victories last week.

But that he did it mostly without freshman sensation Eric Gordon along for the ride is enough to earn White recognition as Rivals.com's National Player of the Week.

Gordon left the Hoosiers' early-week game against Tennessee State with about six minutes to go in the first half after a hard fall left him with a bruised back. White responded with a career-high 29 points to go with 14 rebounds. He followed with 16 points and 13 rebounds as IU whipped Kentucky 70-51 with Gordon still on the sideline.

He now has a career-high streak of five consecutive double-doubles.

"I knew for the team to do well and win, I had to step up and make shots, rebound," White told Rivals.com. "He's our leading scorer and we had to do things a little differently, but we got it done."

White, a 6-foot-9, 251-pounder, has been a key cog for the Hoosiers' since arriving on campus in 2004. He was a Rivals.com Freshman All-America that season. But now he finds himself sharing the spotlight with Gordon, who leads the Hoosiers, and the Big Ten for that matter, in scoring at 24.3 points per game.

White says there is plenty of room in that spotlight.

"There hasn't been anything difficult," White said. "The main goal for both of us is just to win. We do what we have to do."

They're a sort of basketball odd couple. White is a bruiser and a banger who gets his points mostly around the basket. Gordon has virtually unlimited range on his jumper, but he also can blow by defenders and take the ball to the rim.

"He can do a lot of amazing things," White said of Gordon. "Sometimes you catch yourself watching him in practice."

Because of injuries and academic troubles, eight players have started games this season for the Hoosiers (8-1). White and junior college newcomer JaMarcus Ellis are the only players to have started all nine games.

"It's been kind of tough," White said. "We've had a lot of different lineups. A.J. (Ratliff, a senior who averaged 9.3 points last season, isn't eligible until after the first semester because of grades) will be back shortly. But we're getting better and better on the defensive end and understanding what Coach (Kelvin) Sampson wants."

White, who's averaging 14.9 points and 9.1 rebounds, considered leaving for the NBA after last season. He says he's happy he didn't. He'll be happier if the Hoosiers reach the goal White has set.

"My goal is to take this team as far as we can and that's the Final Four," White said.

And how can this team reach its full potential?

"Defense," White said. "Defense is the thing for us. Scoring is not a problem for this team. We have four, five, six guys who can put up 20 on anybody. What we have to do is make a commitment to playing defense."

OTHER NOMINEES FOR NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

F Raymar Morgan, Michigan State
He led the Spartans with 15 points and seven rebounds in a win at Bradley, and he led them again in scoring with 17 points to go with six rebounds in a win against BYU in Salt Lake City.


G Shan Foster, Vanderbilt
He has been blistering the nets as the Commodores (9-0) have climbed into the top 25. He had 26 points in a win over Wake Forest, then 21 in a rout of city rival Lipscomb. He shot 15-of-25 for the week, including 9-of-16 from 3-point range.


F Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
He was a handful last week, going for two double-doubles. He had 19 points and 14 rebounds in a victory over Kansas State, and had 14 points and 12 rebounds in a blowout of Northern Illinois.




DeJuan Blair
Forward/Center
Pittsburgh



Blair is such a good fit in Pittsburgh he might as well have been a Steeler.

Blair, a 6-7, 265-pounder, brought his hard hat and did some major work to help the Panthers (9-0) remain unbeaten last week. He had 10 points and nine rebounds in a victory over crosstown rival Duquesne, then had 16 points and 14 rebounds in a 75-74 victory at Washington.

Blair shot 50 percent (12-of-24) for the week, and he had three steals in each game. Surprisingly, he's one of the Big East's steals leaders, ranking third at 2.44 per game. He's the only non-guard among the conference's top 10.

OTHER NOMINEES:

F James Anderson, Oklahoma State
He averaged 24 points and 5 rebounds as the Cowboys came up with two victories last week. He tallied 26 in a win over Atlantic Sun favorite East Tennessee State and shot 15-of-28 for the week.


C A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt
Ogilvy continues to display considerable skill on the offensive end as he averaged 24.5 points and 7.5 rebounds last week as the Commodores ran their record to 9-0 with wins over Wake Forest and Lipscomb. Ogilvy, a 6-11 Aussie, was 16-of-22 from the field and 17-of-22 at the line.


F Corey Raji, Boston College
Raji averaged 15 points and 5 rebounds as the Eagles beat Saint Louis and Maryland. Against the Terps in his ACC debut, Raji had 17 points and three rebounds in 18 minutes.


F Bill Walker, Kansas State
Walker had his best week of the season, averaging 22 points and 8 rebounds. He had 30 points and 10 rebounds in a big win over Cal, though he shot only 7-of-22 from the field (he was 14-of-16 at the line). He had 14 points and six boards in a loss to Notre Dame.



Leemire Goldwire
Guard
Charlotte



Goldwire, a senior, is a great example of what four years of development in the same program can do for a player. A backup point guard as a freshman, Goldwire has improved steadily to become a top scoring threat in the Atlantic 10 Conference and one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in the nation

He ranks 12th nationally in 3-pointers per game, and he had 12 of them last week as the 49ers beat solid mid-majors Davidson (75-68) and Southern Illinois (71-56) to run their record to 6-2.

Goldwire scored 34 points, including nine 3-pointers, and added eight rebounds in the win over the Wildcats. He followed with 24 points and another eight rebounds as the 49ers smacked the Salukis.

OTHER NOMINEES:

G Jimmy Baron, Rhode Island
The Rams took down two Big East foes last week behind Baron. He had 17 points, five rebounds and four assists in a blowout of Providence, and 21 points in an upset of Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. He shot 9-of-18 from beyond the arc for the week.


G Sam Hinnant, East Carolina
Hinnant averaged 23 points for the week, including 30 in an upset of NC State in which he was 6-of- 8 on 3-pointers.


G Brian Roberts, Dayton
Roberts had 28 points, five rebounds, three assists and no turnovers at the Flyers stunned Louisville 70-65 at Freedom Hall. He also had seven points and five rebounds in a win over High Point.

Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.



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