If any of you happen to follow Minnesota Golden Gopher basketball, you are probably familiar with the talented, but polarizing forward Royce White. White was a high school basketball phenom in Minnesota and originally committed to play for the Gophers and coach Tubby Smith. A few months after committing, White was arrested for shoplifting and assault after he was accused of stealing $100 worth of clothing and pushing down a security officer twice in Mall of America. These troubles eventually forced White to transfer to Iowa State, where he only played one full collegiate basketball season.
White was supposedly going to transfer to Kentucky, but the day before the flight he experienced a panic attack over his fear of flying. He never made the trip down there. White’s anxiety disorder has been well chronicled ever since the age of 10, something that will surely raise some red flags for some NBA teams. Before I go more into his personal life, let’s discuss what made White such a star to begin with.
White is 6′ 8″, and his weight has ranged from 240 all the way up to 270. White must keep his playing weight consistently down around the 240-250 range in order to keep up with some of the quicker power forwards in the league.
Statistically speaking, White was Iowa State’s leading in per game averages for points (13.4), rebounds (9.5), assists (5.0), steals (1.2), and blocks (0.9). White also shot 53.4% from the field, but struggled at the free throw line, shooting just barely under 50%. These numbers alone suggest that White is what some would call a “jack of all trades.” White even posted a triple double against Texas A&M with 10 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists. He seems to do a lot of things pretty well with exception to his free throw shooting and ball handling. He averaged almost 4 turnovers per game last season, negating for the most part his 5 apg. This could be due to him playing a point forward role at times for coach Fred Hoiberg, but this is something he will have to cut down on at the NBA level. In spite of the turnovers he is still a superior ball handler compared to the rest of the big men in this draft class.
The basketball world knows the talent is there, but what will determine his level of NBA success will be whether not he can overcome his anxiety issues and stay in shape. White’s personal issues and conditioning have caused his draft stock to take a severe hit, as he is projected as a late first round pick or later. I personally believe White would help out a team like the Wolves significantly with his ball handling and ability to do a little bit of everything, but he is best served by being drafted by a team loaded with veterans. A team like San Antonio comes to mind, where Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker can keep tabs on him throughout the season. He will also learn how to play the game well under the tutelage of Gregg Popovich . This scenario reminds me a lot of the Chris Herron saga without the hard drugs. Things are starting to look up for the young, talented, forward. It’s all up to him with what he chooses to do with it.
Next up: Terrence Ross, Washington