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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

Bidding adieu to a brilliant duo

It’s still hard to make sense of this season. After 29 games, it’s impossible to gauge whether this team has thrown in the towel or is gathering itself for a memorable postseason run. That’s the kind of season it has been. Drama and uncertainty have been the only constants. In a season in which the Hoosiers have always been ranked, games have often felt joyless – as if maybe winning wasn’t everything.\nOne thing is certain, though: tonight will mark the last time one of the most dominant duos in IU history will take the Assembly Hall floor.\nD.J. White and Eric Gordon may have only shared one season together in Bloomington, but that one season was all they needed to etch their names into the school’s record books. When all is said and done, the inside-outside pair will finish in the top five for the all-time single season scoring mark among hallowed combos such as Scott May-Kent Benson, Brian Evans-Alan Henderson and Calbert Cheaney-Greg Graham. That’s good company. The senior, White, and the freshman, Gordon, will presumably enter the NBA Draft after this season.\nTonight’s game against Minnesota should be an especially emotionally-charged game for White, whose IU career has contained more twists than a paperback thriller. White will rank among the best to have ever donned candy-striped pants when his journey ends. He will leave among the top 20 in career scoring and top 15 in career rebounding. His legacy, however, should be as the anchor of the Hoosiers during tumultuous times. Despite losing most of his sophomore season to a foot injury and experiencing two coaching changes, White has continued to improve and should be rewarded for that persistence as the Big Ten Player of the Year.\nGordon’s cream and crimson season has been fleeting, but the mark he has made has been a sight to behold. He will leave Bloomington as the most offensively-explosive freshman in program history. He lived up to the hype. Although Gordon has been in somewhat of a shooting funk lately, he has kept his scoring average robust by getting to the foul line more than anyone in the conference. It’s not a sexy way to lead the league in points, but it has been effective. \nThose who think the Big Ten’s leading scorer should stick around another season are kidding themselves. What exactly does Gordon have to gain by waiting to see who the next Hoosier coach will be and how tightly the NCAA will handcuff the program this June? He was always a one-and-done guy. He came in good enough to make the pros and he’ll leave having backed that up at the collegiate level.\nThe other three seniors on the squad, Lance Stemler, Mike White and Adam Ahlfeld, haven’t made any all-time lists, but they’ve each had their moments. Stemler and Mike White came in from junior colleges and helped return IU to prominence as part of Kelvin Sampson’s first IU team. And though he rarely saw any game action, Ahlfeld has developed a reputation as the most spirited Hoosier in the arena. The absence of his benchside antics will leave a cheerleader-size hole next season.\nAnything short of a convincing win tonight would be an anticlimactic exit for those departing the team – and an ominous foreshadowing of season’s end. Against Michigan State last Sunday, the Hoosiers displayed no life. It was as if they forgot the joy of competitive basketball. Things should be different tonight as D.J. White and company rock the Hall one last time. Things should make sense again.

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