By ANDY WOLF
It was a foregone conclusion that everyone would see much more of Alex White in his junior season.
The 6-foot-7 forward for the University of Findlay men’s basketball team missed the final 21 games of his sophomore season after tearing his ACL a year ago.
As expected, White has upped his involvement in becoming a huge factor at both ends.
He’s tied with fellow big man and sophomore Aaron Overhiser for fourth on the team in scoring at a career-best 9.2 points per game in 21.9 minutes per game.
“His game is still in the development stages,” UF coach Charlie Ernst said of White. “Our team is figuring out how to use him too.”
White was always an efficient post scorer from the moment he stepped on the court in orange and black.
After a quiet start to the season, he’s scored in double figures in five of his last six games.
White is looking to score more now than ever with 9.6 shots per game in that stretch compared to 4.6 in his first five games this season.
“Our two losses, I kind of thought that overall I played alright but I felt like I could do more for the team,” White said.
“Since then, if I get it inside, as opposed to not even taking a dribble and looking to pass, I’ll definitely take a dribble and look to score first.”
White often sees a one-on-one matchup anyways with the plethora of shooters UF has on the outside.
He didn’t let his season-ending knee injury prevent him from developing perimeter game, either.
White, having never attempted a 3-pointer even throughout high school, is now taking nearly two per game (1.8), making 30 percent (6 of 20).
“Coming back from the injury it seemed as if I started over,” White said. “My jump shot, (assistant) coach (Dan) Shardo is the guy who gets the credit for that, every day coming in here.”
White and the Oilers will be back in action 5:30 p.m. today in a road game against Ohio Dominican at Alumni Hall in Columbus.
Findlay is 9-2 overall, 4-0 in Great Midwest Athletic Conference play while the Panthers are 6-3, 2-1.
The Oilers are led by reigning GMAC Player of the Week Taren Sullivan who totaled 49 points, 18 rebounds and 8 assists in a pair of league wins last week.
Averaging a career-best 18.9 ppg, the 6-6 senior forward has consistently put in at least 15 points in every game this season.
“He has got to be one of, if not the most efficient players in our league,” Ernst said. “He can score 20 points and only take 10 shots to do it.
“When he scores 20 points now, he does it in a variety of ways. He gets some off offensive rebounds, some off trailing threes, some off the post moves, some getting to the free throw line.”
ODU didn’t lose a single player to graduation last season and has its starting five in tact from their 2016-17 campaign which they finished 14-12 overall and outside the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
Their core senior four of Ronnie Williams, Shemar Waugh, Adam Cytlak (Liberty-Benton) and Mike DeLeon total 214 combined starts.
“This year, the scouting report we used from a personnel standpoint was identical,” Ernst said. “We just had to update stats, a few strengths and weaknesses.
“The pictures were all the same. It’s just a year older and they’re playing with confidence.”
Williams (13.7 ppg) is a 6-3 guard and career 1,000-point scorer who is no stranger to big games against the Oilers.
He has averaged 20.2 ppg in his past four outings against UF with at least four 3-pointers in each game.
“He’s a guy that can beat you off the dribble, he’s a good 3-point shooter,” Ernst said of Williams. “He’s been around and he understands how to read screens, defenders. We’ve got to get a hand in his face because when players are playing at home they tend to shoot better.”
Williams is one of four ODU players scoring in double figures and each provide another strong facet.
Sophomore Sam Hickey (12.7 ppg) made 74 threes as a freshman, Waugh (11.1 ppg) is someone Ernst said might be the best on-ball defender in the league and Hassan Varence (11.1) hauls in 7.8 rebounds per game.
Collectively, the Panthers sport the most efficiency scoring offense (50.5 percent) and scoring defense (39.8) in the GMAC.
“They have good versatility and good depth,” Ernst said. “A lot of people see (Waugh’s) quickness and his playmaking ability but I like to focus on his defensive ability. He’s very disruptive. He forces you to take a different approach.
The UF women’s team (7-1, 4-0) will also be on the road to face a tough Ohio Dominican squad (6-2, 3-0).
ODU senior forward Sarah Futscher earned GMAC player of the week honors last week. She leads the Panthers at 12.1 ppg and 7.0 rpg.
UF senior Lynsey Englebrecht (13.3 ppg) leads the GMAC with 28 3-pointers, having made at least two in every game so far.
Leading scorers Anna Hintz (16.8 ppg) and Haley Horstman (15.5 ppg) are scoring in double figures on a nightly bases for the Oilers.
The road team won both matchups last season. The Oilers rebounded from an 82-51 home loss to upset the Panthers 62-53 in Columbus.
Basketball: White getting more involved on UF men’s team
By ANDY WOLF