Tuesday, December 31, 2002

White joins UC practice

By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

James White declared himself tired and out of shape Monday night after finishing his first University of Cincinnati basketball practice.

"It'll take a week or maybe two to get back into shape and to get my shot back," White said.

White, a former McDonald's All-American who transferred to UC after spending his freshman year at Florida, will be eligible to play for the Bearcats after the completion of fall quarter 2003. Until then, he can practice but not travel with UC.

White has two-plus years of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-6 swingman, known for his thunderous dunks, averaged 6.1 points and 2.9 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game last season for coach Billy Donovan at Florida. He left primarily because he was looking for more playing time.

White's first impressions of UC and coach Bob Huggins?

"The intensity is a little better (than Florida)," White said. "Every day, you're playing against great players who are going to test you. You have to do more than just shoot jump shots.

"(Huggins) wants you to get things right. He emphasizes defense. I like that because that's my game."

UC coaches liked what they saw of White in his first practice. Associate head coach Dan Peters was extremely pleased.

"He's got a great feel for the game," Peters said. "He knows what to do with the ball, where to pass it."

White said he hasn't played since having Oct.16 surgery on his left knee to remove a cyst and repair a torn meniscus.

PILGRIM VISITS: Mike Pilgrim, who signed a letter of intent with UC last month, watched practice Monday while on Christmas break from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.

"This is the third time I've seen them practice," Pilgrim said. "I'm ready to play and put on a uniform."

Pilgrim, a 6-7 forward, averaged 19.1 points, 6.8 rebounds last season at Purcell Marian High School.

E-mail bkoch@enquirer.com

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