By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
AMES – Royce White’s 10 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists were the big story during Fred Hoiberg’s weekly press conference on Monday morning in Ames but the number three might have been just as significant. That’s how many turnovers the Big 12’s current Rookie of the Week had in a 74-50 rout of Texas A&M on Saturday.
Through the first 15 games of the season (also note that White barely played against Mississippi Valley State), White has tallied 55 turnovers. Chris Allen has 31 and that’s the next highest number on the team.
"He played such a simple game," said Hoiberg. "He didn’t try any no-look passes and I think that you can see in I think that he only had three turnovers in that game. To have 10 assists and three turnovers, that’s a pretty good ratio.”
The triple-double went down as the fourth in Iowa State basketball history. White said that down the stretch of Saturday’s game, he was unaware that the milestone was within reach.
“I didn’t really know. I knew that I had a bunch of assists because guys were knocking down a lot of shots but I wasn’t too sure what constitutes as an assist or not," explained White. "When we’re at home, sometimes I think I get some and then I end up not getting them so I really didn’t know for sure.”
BIG WORDS: Here’s a quote on Royce White from Missouri head coach Frank Haith. I’ve bolded the part to really pay attention to.
"White is one of the tough match ups in our league, in terms of his size and strength, that has this ball skill that he has. He’s like Magic Johnson, he’s a point forward. He can do so many things, he gets excited about getting his guys shots. On the flip side he can still score and drive, post-shoot-up. He’s a tough guard and you have guys that can shoot the ball."
There’s no need to squint at your computer screen. Yes. Missouri’s head coach did compare Royce White to Magic Johnson. Fred Hoiberg’s response?
“Let’s keep that in this room," joked the Mayor.
BABB’S DEFENSE: Not only is he making shots again, junior Chris Babb has quietly become Iowa State’s lock down defender. Texas’ J’Covan Brown did go 7-for-10 against the Cyclones, but Hoiberg credited Bown for simply making shots in that contest. On Saturday, Babb held Texas A&M star Khris Middleton to 3-for-12 performance.
“I was very happy with the way that Chris defended both of those guys and he’ll continue to guard the other team’s best player," said Hoiberg.
Who will Babb be assigned to on Wednesday when the Tigers come to town?
“We’ll determine that after watching some more tape," said Hoiberg.
Marcus Denmon (he leads the Tigers in scoring at 18.7 PPG) appears to be the early front-runner for that honor but still, stay tuned.
=== QUOTABLE ===
Royce White on Wednesday’s showdown with No. 9 Missouri…
“It’s going to be a big time atmosphere. I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m just hoping that we come out with the W.”
Fred Hoiberg on Royce White…
“I’ve been very pleased with his intensity. He’s really brought it in practice these last couple of weeks. He’s become a leader. He’s pulling guys in. He’s been great in the huddle. I’ve been really pleased with his progression.”
Fred Hoiberg on Missouri point guard Phil Pressey…
“He is as quick as we’ll play against.”
Missouri coach Frank Haith on the Cyclones…
"It is a tremendous problem because they stretch you out and then you have a guy like White who is a willing passer and all those guys are great at getting their shots off and shooting in transition. The first thing you must do is get back in defense, when you have shooters like that it makes the game, in terms of matchup, you have to be on your game. They’ll find you out and you have to know where the shooters are and get there early. You can’t get there late because they are all high percentage shooters, so our defense has to be on point to be successful to win."