White hot: DSU senior hits 1,000 career points in weekend losses
The Dickinson State men's basketball team is in a rut.
The team was once top of the North Star Athletic Association but has lost its last four games, with the last three being in overtime.
Two of those losses were in double overtime and the Blue Hawks lost both by just two points.
However, in the most recent 82-80 loss to Viterbo (Wis.) on Sat. Feb. 12, there was one thing to be excited about. Senior guard/forward Marcus White scored his 1,000th point as a Blue Hawk. To make that all the more impressive, he's only played at DSU for two years.
"It's a big deal," head coach Josh Vaughan said. "Marcus has a unique ability to put the ball in the basket. He's more than just a scorer. He's won a lot. It's important too. You don't want to just be scoring and when it comes to the championship hopefully we can put something here together in the next couple weeks and continue that for him."
For White to hit 1,000 in two years is no small feat. In the 24 games played this season, White has averaged 18.9 points per game. Last season, over 33 games, he netted 546 points, averaging 16.5 per game.
Going into the game against the V-Hawks, White knew he must be close to 1,000 points, but didn't know that he only needed seven points to complete the job. The 6-foot-6 senior put in three layups in the first 10 minutes of the game and with 4:06 left in the opening half, he put in another, giving him 1,001 points, and the Blue Hawks a 29-24 lead.
"It's a great milestone that I accomplished," White said. "If it wasn't for my teammates it wouldn't be possible. It was a good feeling."
While he didn't accomplish the accolade in front of a home crowd, which likely would have erupted with that basket, he did it in his home state.
White grew up in Milwaukee, Wis., just 200 miles east of Viterbo in La Crosse, Wis., where he attended Milwaukee Vincent High School. He finished his senior season in the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 1 All-Star Game by aiding the South to an 81-71 victory over the North. With multiple junior colleges pining for a commitment, he chose Salt Lake Community College in Utah.
His sophomore year he helped the Bruins to a Scenic West Athletic Conference region win, as well as a National Junior College Athletic Association national championship. Over two years he scored 585 points for the Bruins.
"My role wasn't to score. Our whole team was pretty much good," White said. "Five or six players went Division I after there. We had a lot of talent. I didn't get to score as much as I did here."
Following his college career, which wraps up in just a few short weeks, White wants more basketball in his future.
"I'll probably go back home and work out this summer and try to find a pro team I can play for somewhere," White said. "Local, overseas, anywhere I can get in basically."
White's shining moment has been one of the few bright spots in the last few weeks of Blue Hawk basketball. Four straight losses haven't dampened their spirit, but the standings are suffering, as the Blue Hawks are now tied for second place with just one game left in the regular season.
With the last three games decided by one or two points in overtime, the Blue Hawks need to figure out what to fix and fast.
"Ninety-nine percent of it happens before the end of the game," Vaughan said. "There's so many plays. When it's that close of a game every game, like it's been, there's a million plays that we could have made or made incorrectly that made the game the way it was. It's not always the end of a game like that that makes the game the way it is. We just have to play better for 40 minutes. ... we haven't put 40 minutes together in a really long time. That's our main issue."
The Blue Hawks have just three days to prepare for Presentation College (S.D.), who they face in Aberdeen, S.D. on Friday, Feb 16.
On Dec. 17, the Saints came to Scott Gymnasium and were dismissed by the Blue Hawks 102-82. However, Saint junior Julius Jackson put up a season-high 41 points. Jackson is the highest scorer in the NSAA, averaging 23.9 points per game, with White in second with his 18.9 per game.
"The next few days we're really focused on getting that defensive mindset back," Vaughan said. "I think we've for some reason lost that along the way and that's probably my fault. We just have to get back to worrying about defense first and worry about offense second and play for 40 minutes."
While White leads the Blue Hawks' offense, he also contributes heavily on the defensive side of the court. His long wingspan has helped him earn a team-leading 30 steals and 21 blocks.
"We just hit a wall right now," White said. "We'll be fine, though. We got one more game left. We're going to go there ... then go on a run in the playoffs and try to get to the national tournament."