After not really blowing scouts away with his performance as a redshirt junior, D.J. White
has come back very strong in his senior season, improving in virtually all facets of his game, specifically many of those thatll be important for his potential transition to the next level. The 69, lengthy power forward has carved himself out a very nice niche at the college level, and his production and efficiency this season have been outstanding.
One area Whites improved is his back-to-the-basket game, where hes developed a nice array of moves, with solid footwork to consistently get them off. D.J. White
s go-to move is his turnaround jumper from the 5-8 foot range, which he can impressively use turning off either shoulder. His consistency suffers as he gets farther away from the basket, and hes shown some reduced effectiveness with it against longer defenders, but this has become a nice staple of his game, and is something that could serve him well in the long-term, though he needs to continue to improve with it. White also makes use of a right-handed hook shot in the lane, with range out to five feet. White adjusts his game to defenses accordingly, relying on these finesse moves when matched against bigger opponents, and attacking the rim using dropstep moves when matched against smaller opponents, showing pretty good sense of what move to use at any given time. His shooting percentage has improved impressively by over 11% thus far this season, and hes also getting to the free throw line at a considerably better rate.
Another area Whites improved with is his mid-range jumper, which he shows excellent consistency with from the 10-15 foot range, where he can spot up or pull up off one or two dribbles in space. His range doesnt extend beyond here, but he rarely will stray from his comfort zone with his jump shot, recognizing his limitations. In terms of facing up with the ball, White has shown brief flashes of mini-drives from the 10 foot range, though his handling is suspect and he usually will try to finish the drive with a half floater/half pull-up jumper move that isnt very effective. This is something hell need to work on moving forward.
White also has looked good cutting to the basket, either from the weakside or off pick-and-roll situations, liking to throw down emphatic dunks when in space, but struggling to finish at the rim when contested. His athleticism is just decent, which should be enough to get him by at the next level, but finishing at the rim when contested is something he probably wont be doing much of. As for the rest of his offensive game, White doesnt really stand out as a passer, not looking to pass much except to reset in the post, and he does most of his damage on the offensive glass when matched against smaller opponents, not really standing out much for his abilities there.
On the defensive end, White has looked very strong this year, moving well all around the floor on this end of the court, helping his team in multiple ways. Indiana switches between a 3-2 zone (where he plays center) and man-to-man defense, where White finds ways to excel in both. In terms of man-to-man defense, White shows an aggressive stance against bigs in the 5-15 foot range, playing up and using his length to really contest and block shots, always keeping his hands near the ball. He plays well against both face-up and post-up game for the most part, though can really get pushed around in post-up situation against larger opponents, such as Illinois Shaun Pruitt
. Improving his lower body strength should be a priority. With shot-blocking, White uses his excellent timing and length to be a force in both man-to-man and help situations, making a strong impact. White also looks good in pick-and-roll situations, hedging the ball-handler very aggressively and quickly changing directions to get back to his own man. On the perimeter, White shows an aggressive stance on defense and contests shots out to the three-point range, though his lateral quickness rarely gets tested. In terms of rebounding the ball, White does a very good job on the defensive end, boxing out and pulling in boards close to the basket, while also showing the mobility to pursue boards away from the basket. Here too he has improved considerably this season, grabbing three more rebounds per game per-40 minutes pace adjusted.
As a very young senior (only turning 22 next September), White will be automatically eligible for the draft, where he should get looks strong looks from the late first to the second round. He should consider playing at the Orlando pre-draft camp, where he could look to stand out in quite a few areas. Due to his suspect ball-handling and lack of range on his jump shot, White likely projects as purely a power forward in the NBA, where he could rely on his mid-range jumper, rebounding, and versatile defense to find himself a niche. His finesse post game has more question marks about how it will translate, but could also be a weapon for him. His athleticism isnt what it used to be due to the numerous injuries he suffered throughout his career, but he has developed into an excellent college player, and is in the midst of a very strong senior season.