Stilman White will return to North Carolina after two-year mission

Stilman White will return to North Carolina after two-year mission

The little-known reserve who briefly became the most important player in the 2012 NCAA tournament may yet reenter the college basketball spotlight

Point guard Stilman White guard is returning to North Carolina after spending parts of the past two years on a Mormon mission, the school announced Tuesday. He will compete for playing time behind starter Marcus Paige, one of the favorites to win ACC player of the year next season.

White was one of the most anonymous members of the start-studded 2011-12 Tar heels until combo guard Dexter Strickland tore up his knee late in the regular season and starting point guard Kendall Marshall broke his wrist in a round of 32 NCAA tournament victory over Creighton. That thrust White abruptly into the spotlight even though the true freshman had only played 136 minutes all season.

As the only healthy point guard left on the roster, White started both North Carolina's final two games that season, combining for six points, 13 assists and zero turnovers. The Tar Heels survived a spirited upset bid from Ohio in the Sweet 16 before falling to Kansas in the Elite Eight, ending a season in which the Tar Heels were co-favorites with Kentucky to capture the national title prior to the injuries.

“He had to make his first two collegiate starts in the middle of the NCAA Tournament and performed well,” Williams said. “He has not played much basketball the last two years and is coming off an ankle injury so he has some work to do to catch up. But he will give us additional experience and depth in the backcourt.”

There's little chance White will be thrust into a similar situation next season as he was in March 2012. The Tar Heels will likely have five point guards on their roster: Paige, White, returners Nate Britt and Luke Davis and incoming freshman Joel Berry.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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