Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 25, 2012
ST. LOUIS — Before Stilman White was thrust into the North Carolina lineup, the baby-faced freshman had off-the-court bragging rights over his more well-known teammates.
When it comes to Super Jetpack, he’s the acknowledged king of the hill.
Fingers flying at the team breakfast on Saturday, White was so intent on topping his personal best on the IPhone game that he failed to hear teammate Kendall Marshall going from table to table asking “Toast, toast, anybody’s toast?”
“Twenty-one people in there looked at Stilman, and Stilman says, ‘Oh, that’s my toast,'” coach Roy Williams said.
Williams jokingly referred to the game as “Space Jam” and said “I know more about Kansas than I do Super Jetpack, I can guarantee you that.”
The younger generation is more in the know. Though Harrison Barnes and Reggie Bullock said they’ve never tried it, John Henson was playing the game just before the North Carolina interview session began, and said the game was recommended to him by reserve James Michael McAdoo.
“I think that it’s a pretty good game,” Henson said. “Stilman’s probably a little better than me, but I’m just getting on it.”
White knows he’s better.
“I’ll take credit for finding the game,” he said. “So pretty sure I’m the best player.”
That off-center behavior doesn’t surprise Williams, who describes White as a “weird dude.”
“There’s some kids’ minds that I would like to get into and figure out what they think. That’s one mind that I’m going stay away from,” Willliams said. “And I say that in a caring way. I mean, he’s a neat kid.”
White was a little used reserve, reaching double digits in minutes played only once, before stepping up big as the replacement point guard for the injured Marshall. Though the Tar Heels had a season-worst 24 turnovers in their overtime victory over Ohio on Friday night, White’s ball-handling was flawless with six assists and no turnovers in 32 minutes.
The Ohio game was a career milestone for a player North Carolina counted on Sunday against Kansas. White leaves for a two-year Mormon mission after this season, but over the weekend, he was an integral piece.
“I definitely didn’t expect it coming into the tournament, but things happen and next thing you know, you’re up here,” White said. “So it’s kind of weird, but you know, it’s pretty exciting.”