INDIANAPOLIS -- Give up an uncontested three-point shot? No way Chandler White was going to do that against The Program Elite Black.
It was in the middle of an Indiana Elite 2015 blowout victory. White, the Carroll basketball standout, would only score four points, not that Indiana Elite needed his offense in this adidas Spring Classic game at North Central High School.
In the stands, Purdue assistant coach Jack Owens watched. Off to the side, Indiana associate head coach Tim Buckley observed. An hour or so earlier, Michigan coach John Beilein had evaluated from a plastic chair. The next day, IU coach Tom Crean would make this event his final stop in a whirlwind stretch of recruiting (visiting recruits at their schools and homes) and evaluating (just watch travel ball events) periods.
None of that mattered at this moment. White rushed the shooter, who was positioned just beyond the three-point line, extended to the limit of his 6-2 height and blocked the shot.
It was a defensive moment in a setting that didn't require it, and if you know anything about what college coaches want to see, you know it mattered. It reflected hustle, passion, energy and aggression, attributes that help separate those with the potential to be good from those who accomplish it.
As for the possibility of distraction from the high-profile coaches watching so intently, White called it a non-issue.
“I'm used to it. It's fun to play in front of them and show them what you've got, but also do what you can do and not do too much.”
Such balancing comes with the travel ball experience. What does White hope to gain from it beyond the recruiting benefits?
“The objective is to win all the tournaments, to be a good teammate, to give everybody good looks,” he said.
April is a month for travel ball action and White takes full advantage with his powerhouse Indiana Elite 2015 team that also includes nationally ranked guards Hyron Edwards and Jalen Coleman. Two weeks ago they played in an event in Indianapolis, and lost in the semifinals. Last weekend they took second in a tourney in Dallas. On Sunday morning, they were upset by Club Elite Eastside 81-77. Still ahead are May tournaments in Fort Wayne, Bloomington and Chicago.
June is the month where high school teams can play together. July is hectic with more travel ball tourneys. And that doesn't count all the unofficial visits White has taken, and will continue to take, until a college decision is made.
“It's a lot of fun to go and see different college campuses and what they have to offer,” he said.
White is wrapping up his sophomore year at Carroll. He's evolving into more of a point guard than a shooting guard, which reflects the more-versatile-the-better approach college coaches want from players.
White works on his basketball skills with Vernard Hollins, the former North Side standout who played college ball at Wright State, professionally in Mexico and Europe (he was once Switzerland's player of the year) and now runs the “All 100” camp in Fort Wayne. White builds his strength at AWP Sports Performance, plus in a strength training class at Carroll.
And then he plays a lot of basketball.
“I'm working on my ballhanding, shooting definitely, getting in the weight room and getting stronger to prevent injuries and get better.”
White is on the radar of most Big Ten programs, and beyond. His only scholarship offer is from Boston College, although more will certainly come. New Mexico, even with Steve Alford gone to UCLA, is interested.
Indiana and Purdue are taking long looks at White.
“IU has shown a lot of interest,” he says. “Purdue has, but not as much as IU.”
What kind of school interests him?
“A lot of it is academics, what the campus is like, how the coaches and players are, and what kind of style they play.”
White has plenty of time to fine tune his after-basketball career objectives, but he did say he'd like to do, “Something with athletes and sports, like sports medicine or being an agent. Something like that.”
June is when college coaches can start their unlimited contacting of recruits for those about to begin their junior seasons. White doesn't expect to be overwhelmed by texts and phone calls from interested coaches, but he's ready just in case.
“I know a couple of people who said it gets a little bit overwhelming,” he said, “but they like it.”