ST. LOUIS -- Not that it had any other choice, but North Carolina asked too much of Stilman White. With All-American point guard Kendall Marshall unavailable in the Sweet 16 or the Elite Eight because of a broken wrist, and with Marshall's top backup unavailable since January with a knee injury, the Tar Heels had to turn the team over to White.
In the Sweet 16.
And then in the Elite Eight.
That's asking too much of a freshman like Stilman White, who had averaged four minutes a game entering the weekend, but you know what? He delivered. He delivered in a way that exceeded anything UNC coach Roy Williams could have hoped for, much less anything he anticipated. In 60 minutes here in St. Louis, White had 13 assists, two steals and no turnovers.
It could be argued -- and I'd make this argument -- that White was the third-best UNC starter in the two games, behind only Tyler Zeller and John Henson. White was more effective than Harrison Barnes, a scorer who made just eight of 30 shots from the floor and had eight turnovers in the two games. White was more consistent than Reggie Bullock, who was majestic in the Sweet 16 against Ohio but invisible in the Elite Eight against Kansas.
White will spend the next two years as a Mormon mission. Whether he plays again for North Carolina is a story to be determined, but in these two games he made himself a household name -- and surely an appreciated name -- around North Carolina.