Following the Arizona State Sun Devils’ 97-62 win over the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Friday night, Romello White spoke with Pac-12 Network broadcasters for the first time, then entered a press conference before an assortment of media.
Two games into his career, and he’s got all the attention.
White scored a season-high 25 points with six rebounds following his 16-point, 15-rebound debut on Tuesday night against San Diego State.
Being academically ineligible last season, White spent the year on the bench. He said it was tough, and explained he hadn’t spent more than a week away from basketball prior to last season.
He was asked if his early numbers surprised him.
“Honestly, yeah.” White said. “I felt like I was going to be a little rusty when I got back, but I surprised myself, so I’m just going to keep going, keep doing it.”
His head coach, Bobby Hurley, disagreed.
“You see things that are happening on the practice floor and preseason and on our foreign trip (Spain) and you’re saying ‘wow. I hope this carries over to the competition we’re playing,’” Hurley said. “Just based off of what I’ve been watching. I think part of the reason I was so excited to get him on the floor and coach him.”
Romello White was the No. 77 player in the class of 2016 ESPN 100. As a four-star recruit, he was bound to make an impact, but had to sit out. Mysterious to those who haven’t seen him, he needed to deliver.
White isn’t the only Sun Devil big man to have a strong start, though. Junior forward De’Quon Lake, who averages 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds so far, snatched his first double-double against NAU, scoring 17 and with 12 boards.
When the two play together, the ASU new-look frontcourt is dominant. The Sun Devils have outblocked their opponents 15-9 and outrebounded them 118-107. ASU averaged three blocks per game last season. Add two to that average three games into the 2017-18 season.
“We play the same type of position, so I didn’t know what to expect. It turned out pretty good,” White said of Lake. “Really, we were just trying to carry everybody in the paint. Rebounding, blocks... Coach was really big on that. When guards get big you’ve got to help them.”
Lake comes off the bench. When his number is called, he usually lines up right beside White. He can’t wait to play.
“He brings a lot of energy,” Lake said. “I can never get tired of it. I look forward to playing with him every time.”
White and Lake’s contributions down low can only help ASU’s trio of senior guards: Kodi Justice, Tra Holder and Shannon Evans.
The three have scored 144 of Arizona State’s 281 points.
“I feel like it gives us confidence,” Evans said. “We can play harder. If we get beat, we’ve got bigs inside who can clean up off the glass. So just having him (White), Vitaliy (Shibel), D-Lake down there, it gives us a lot of energy and a lot of confidence.”