Coming into the season, we heard a lot about how Andrew White would be a big player for the Jayhawks, and how much he had improved. He works out after games, he shoots jumpers at midnight, etc. But for some reason he's only played in 14.8% of the team's minutes this year, and his less than one minute played against Oklahoma was his first playing time since the Florida game.
This leads to one very important question: why?
There isn't exactly a huge log of statistics on Andrew White, but early returns are positive: he's shooting 71% from two (just 5-8) and 37% from three (7-19) this year. He's shown off a good basketball IQ, with timely flashes to the basket when post players have been double teamed.
Elsewhere, White has a defensive rebounding percentage of 19%. Again, it's not like he has a ton of minutes to lend much context to that number, but it's worth noting that mark is the second best on the team after only Joel Embiid.
Think about what Kansas is lacking most: outside shooting, defensive rebounding (and defense in general) and guys who can make plays when the first option breaks down. White brings all of that.
Sure, his defense can be questionable. But he was fine against Towson, and great against Iona, in the two games when he received the most playing time. Furthermore, it's not as if the players playing in front of him (other than Andrew Wiggins) have been great defensively.
So why isn't he playing? I assume it can't be because of attitude problems, given that he is studying the form of great shooters and hoisting jumpers at midnight. I also would think it can't be something akin to him telling Self he's going to transfer, because that again would be attitude problems. Obviously I am not at practice and can't see how he is performing there, but at some point his (limited) performance in games vs. other guys' performance in games should be enough to get him some playing time. Ditto for looking at his skillset and seeing what he offers.
Unfortunately, as far as I know ESPN3 doesn't keep games that are more than 30 days old, so I can't get good Andrew White footage. However, needless to say he helps in three of the areas Kansas needs the most help, and people who claim he's a liability on defense either A. aren't watching him closely enough or B. aren't watching the other perimeter defenders closely enough. Kansas needs a three point threat who can hit the glass and also make high IQ basketball plays. Andrew White has shown he can do all of those, but for some reason remains glued to the bench, and it might keep Kansas from winning its 10th straight conference title.