July 11, 2012

Darren White named to 2011-12 NABC Honors Court

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Darren White of Campbell University has been named to the NABC Honors Court, which recognizes collegiate basketball student-athletes who excelled in academics during the 2011-12 season.

A rising senior from Danville, Va., White owns a 3.41 grade-point average as an information technology and security major.  He earned a place on the Big South Conference presidential honor roll and was also a second-team all-conference selection in 2012 after ranking fifth among Big South scoring leaders (16.8), 19th in rebounding (5.5), fourth in field goal percentage (.520) and eighth in blocked shots (1.06).

"It is rather obvious Darren plays the game of basketball very well," said head coach Robbie Laing. "He had a phenomenal year on the court.  Furthermore, I am really pleased he is receiving notoriety for the student part of student-athlete.  I have had fun coaching a the man that led us in GPA and PPG!"

One of only three Big South Conference players named to the NABC Honors Court, White was one of just 10 players from NCAA Division I programs in North Carolina to earn NABC recognition.

White, who was named first-team all-conference by CollegeSportsMadness.com, shot 66 percent (97-147) from the line and 37.8 percent (45-119) from 3-point range, while adding 2.1 assists and 0.9 steals per outing.

He scored in double figures 28 times in 32 games, including 10 contests of 20 or more points.  White tallied acareer-high 33 points in a game twice (setting a Gore Arena record in the process) – against North Carolina A&T in CU's first outing in the Dale Howard Classic – and vs. Methodist.

In addition, White set a school junior class record for points (536) in a year, a total that is tied for the 8th-highest in CU senior college (since 1961-62) history and 4th-most in the Division I era.

He nearly missed a triple-double with 22 points (10-12 field goals), plus career highs of 16 rebounds and 8 assists in win over VMI, setting a CU Gore Arena rebounding mark in the process.  White was chosen Big South player of the week twice by CollegeSportsMadness.com, the second time following a 25-point (18 in the second half) performance in CU's 87-81 loss at NC State.

White was selected for Big South monthly all-league teams by CollegeHoops.net in November, December and January.  He tallied 29 points (20 in the 1st half) on 12-of-18 shooting at UNC Wilmington (12/19).  Eighteen of his game-high 28 points came in the 2nd half of CU's win over High Point.

In Campbell's 77-61 victory at Iowa the day before Thanksgiving, White scored 17 points while adding 5 assists.  He finished the year with four double-figure rebounding games (all double-doubles).

A 2009 graduate of Dan River High School, where he was named Group A Division 2 state player of the year, White enrolled at James Madison University and earned Colonial Athletic Association all-rookie team honors in 2010.  He transferred to Midland (Texas) College, which was ranked third in the national JUCO poll, before joining the Camels in 2011-12.

The NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) Honors Court recognizes the talents and gifts that these men possess off the court, and the hard work they exhibit in the classroom. In order to be named to the Honors Court, an athlete must meet a high standard of academic criteria.

The qualifications are as follows:

1. Academically a junior or senior and a varsity player.

2. Cumulative G.P.A. of 3.2 or higher at the conclusion of the 2011-12 academic year.

3. Students must have matriculated at least one year at their current institution.

4. Member of an NCAA Division I, II, III, or NAIA Institution.

Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the NABC was founded in 1927 by Phog Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. Allen, a student of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, organized coaches into this collective group to serve as Guardians of the Game. The NABC currently has nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men's basketball coaches. All members of the NABC are expected to uphold the core values of being a Guardian of the Game by bringing attention to the positive aspects of the sport of basketball and the role coaches play in the academic and athletic lives of today's student-athletes. The four core values of being a Guardian of the Game are advocacy, leadership, service and education.

North Carolina Division I student-athletes named to 2011-12 NABC Honors Court: 

Campbell University
Darren White

Davidson College
JP Kuhlman

Duke University
Mason Plumlee

Elon University
Egheosa Edomwonyi
Brett Ervin
John MoodyDrew Spradlin

UNC Asheville
Matt Dickey
Jeremy Harn

North Carolina State
Kendall Smith

Q&A with Darren White

Not only is Darren White the second-leading returning scorer among all Big South Conference players this year, he was the lone league performer to earn a place on the NABC Honors Court.  White took a few minutes to discuss his academic success and the team's off-season workouts.

What do you see your role heading into this year?  You will be the only senior on the roster.

Last year I was a newcomer, so I kind of shied away from a leadership role.  But I'm definitely ready to step into that role this year.

What areas have you focused on improving?

Coach Laing always tells me what I need to work on.  Basketball-wise, I've been working a lot on my handles, being versatile and definitely still working on my shot.  A lot of it has been mental, things I can do when I step on the court – how I look when I'm playing defense, paying attention to detail, if I'm down and ready on the catch.  Those are the things I'm working on now.

What are some moments that stick out from last season?

The best memory had to be winning at Iowa.  That was special.  It showed how good we could be.  I don't think we reached our potential, but that was the night we put it all together.  Last year, I didn't accomplish my goals because as a team, I thought we would do much better.  I put up numbers, but that wasn't my main focus.  My main focus was playing on a bigger stage in the NCAA tournament.

What memories do you have of the VMI game when you nearly had a triple-double?

It was a high-energy, very intense game.  I dove for something like four loose balls, went for every rebound, and just honestly, played the game.  I wasn't really aggressive scoring, I looked for my teammates and had season-highs in assists and rebounds.

Explain what an information technology and security major does?

It's a broad major.  You can do a lot of things with it.  Personally, I want to get into computer programming.  ITS covers computer programming, web design, business continuity, disaster recovery.

You graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA and have an excellent academic record at Campbell.  What are the keys to performing well in school?

I've always taken school very serious.  I don't know why, but I've always worked hard in the class room.  Honestly, I get my work done and strive for the best grade I can get.  I've never been content with getting a "C" or getting a "B" if I could get an "A."  I've always wanted to get the best grade possible.

Who are some of the players to watch heading into the 2012-13 season?

We've all gotten better.  I think (Kent State transfer)Darius (Leonard) will come in and shock people that he's as talented as he is.  (VCU transfer) Reco (McCarter) has been one of the hardest-working guys this summer, and Trey (Freeman) has always been a hard worker.  Another guy that sticks out a lot is Casey (Perrin).  He definitely should not be a walk-on.  He's a steal.  He works very, very hard.

What are your thoughts coming off last year?

We've looked forward, and don't really look back.  If anything, I would say that last year was an example of how not to finish the season.  We're just moving forward, working hard, meeting our obligations, doing what we're supposed to do, controlling things we can control.

Have you given much thought to the fact that your final college season is approaching.

I've thought about it a couple of times, but not a whole lot.  Maybe it'll set in around the end of the season.  I'm just looking forward to this year and life after college and the possibility of playing professionally.