Andrew White: The Big Ten’s Most Underrated Player

Posted by Alex Moscoso on December 17th, 2015

We’ve written a lot about Nebraska here at the Big Ten microsite, perhaps more than a borderline NCAA Tournament team deserves. But there’s some reasoning behind it, as the Cornhuskers have become one of the most interesting stories in the Big Ten this season. They’ve done so despite losing one of the league’s best players from a season ago, but their offense has actually improved without Terran Petteway’s volume shooting. Another major factor in that improvement has been the emergence of Kansas transfer Andrew White, the Huskers’ leading scorer (16.7 PPG) and second-leading rebounder (5.1 RPG). But the 6’7” junior isn’t just a typical star on a middling team — he’s an All-Big Ten caliber player who is playing efficiently in almost every possible way. White ranks among the league’s top 10 in field goals made (seventh), field goal percentage (sixth), effective field goal percentage (fourth), true shooting percentage (10th), three-point field goals made (sixth), free throw attempts (10th), free-throw percentage (sixth), steals (sixth), and points per game (seventh). He hasn’t received much coverage outside of Lincoln, which gives the Nebraska star an early claim as the Big Ten’s most underrated player this season.

Andrew White has been the biggest impact player on a better-than-expected Nebraska squad. (Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications)

Andrew White has been the biggest impact player on a better-than-expected Nebraska squad. (Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications)

White, the Virginia Player of the Year as a prep senior, was considered among the top 50 prospects in the country when he committed to Kansas in 2012. When he decided to transfer to Tim Miles’ burgeoning program after his sophomore season, White’s career averages of only 2.3 PPG and 1.2 RPG suggested that perhaps he had been overrated. Take a closer look, though, and you’ll see that he lost a lot of potential playing time during his second year to future No.1 pick Andrew Wiggins, an entirely understandable situation. Being recruited over by Bill Self — always a possibility in a basketball factory like Lawrence — forced White to move to a school where he has ended up in a better situation. Miles certainly isn’t upset about it.

One reason for the team’s success is that the junior represents the perfect offensive complement for fellow big man Shavon Shields. The senior gets most of his buckets inside while White plays the role of the stretch four — with a 42.2 percent three-point field goal percentage — to give him room to work. His ability to stretch the floor has no bearing on his work on the glass, however, and is a big reason why Nebraska ranks among the top 75 teams nationally in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. He’s also been solid on the defensive end, jumping passing lanes frequently (2.9 percent steal percentage) and capably covering a variety of opposing scorers.

White’s outstanding first 11 games with his new team continues a trend of successful transfers for the head coach at Nebraska. Miles’ second team rode transfers Petteway and Walter Pitchford to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 years. If he can find a couple teammates to help him out, he might just give Nebraska an outside chance of making its second Big Dance in the last three years, and perhaps a sliver of the possibility of its first-ever victory in the annual event.

Alex Moscoso (170 Posts)

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