Wizards' White Working on Consistency

Article excerpt

When New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy looks at Washington Wizards center Jahidi White he sees about the same thing that Washington Wizards coach Darrell Walker sees.

"He's still pretty much a rookie in terms of his actual game experience," Van Gundy said last week. "But I like him. I know the Wizards like him, too. Sometimes he might be a little aggressive but that's what you want. You don't want him going out there and being timid."

White doesn't believe the game should be played that way either. The second-year center usually starts games in a blur, blocking a shot or powering home a dunk that pumps up the Wizards. This was the case Thursday against the Knicks. White needed just seven minutes to score eight points, grab five rebounds and block a shot in the first quarter against his idol, Patrick Ewing.

However, White also picked up two fouls in the first quarter and, as a result, was limited to just 20 minutes the rest of the game in a 101-92 loss.

White finished with 14 points, marking the first time in 13 games a starting center for the Wizards has scored in double figures. And White followed that with an even more impressive 13-point, 14-rebound effort (his first double double since Feb. 24) Saturday in a 108-98 win over the Hawks.

White also blocked three shots and clearly outplayed Atlanta's All-Star center, Dikembe Mutombo, who finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, a pair of blocked shots and a technical foul. And although White had four fouls he still managed to stay in the game for 27 minutes, the longest he's played in 14 games.

White's rookie season was not nearly as productive. The lockout reduced the season to 50 games. And an injured right knee, that ultimately required surgery, limited him to just 20 games. As a result, his learning process was slowed, including the ability to recognize when he can and can't be overly physical with his 6-foot-9, 290-pound frame.

"I'm making an effort not to get as many fouls in the first quarter as I have been getting," White said. "Coach is on me about that all the time. Sometimes I look over at him after I make an early foul and I can tell he's frustrated. But you have to think out there. …