Early on this year, this board was over the moon about the performance of Jack White and how he was essentially acting as a "sixth starter" in his role off the bench. Many of us saw glimpses of potential in Jack, but very few expected him to go from a garbage time player his first two years on campus to one of the best sixth-men/glue-guys in the nation so quickly. We called him the "x-factor" on this team, the key to giving this team necessary depth, etc. Now, over the past few weeks (and especially following our loss to Syracuse) people have seemingly completely soured on Jack, his potential, and his role on this team.

I have a pet theory as to what's going on with Jack and I think it's something that has gone a bit under the radar in the discussions of him, and it's this: Jack White is hitting the equivalent of the "freshman wall". Yes, he's a junior, we all know that. But let's consider the facts: Jack averaged 6.1 mpg as a freshman and 5.7 as a sophomore. This year, he's averaging 24.1 mpg, including 30 or more minutes six times (in many of our most important early season games). Over the past five games, though, Jack hasn't played more than 15 minutes, and Javin has started to take the role as "first man off the bench" instead of Jack. What might account for this sudden swing in court time? I think it is highly unlikely, given his stellar leadership and hustle (indeed, I think Jack does as good a job as anyone in recent memory of influencing the game positively in ways that might not show up on the box score) that he's found his way into Coach K's doghouse. While Marques has obviously stepped up big and earned starter's minutes, it isn't as if Javin's play has skyrocketed and forced K's hand into giving him some more minutes.

However, unlike Jack, Javin was a rotation player for this team last year, averaging 12.7 mpg (not to mention playing more as a freshman with 7.1 mpg). There's also this factor that likely comes into play: while I don't know about Jack's high school career in great detail, I highly doubt he played as strenuous a high school schedule in Australia as the top recruits do in America (between high school teams, AAU teams, various camps, etc.). Plus, we all know that all the practice in the world can never quite mimic the intensity of big-game minutes. Combine all of those extraneous factors with the fact that an increase of nearly 20 mpg over the course of the year is extremely rare and it leads me to the conclusion that Jack is having his January/February "freshman wall" moment come with a two year delay.

I'm curious what others on the board think of this pet theory of mine and how it might factor into things going forward. Personally, I think we need to afford Jack the benefit of the doubt that we have in the past when star freshman inevitably hit a down period for a few weeks when conference play hits the dog days. I think just like those freshmen typically do, Jack is going to bounce back... maybe not to the level of 30 mpg, but back to the contributing sixth-man we saw early in the season.