When it comes to second round picks in the 2017 NBA draft, there is one name that should be on everyone’s radar.
According to Sixers writer Keith Pompey, the New Orleans Pelicans are scheduled to give White a workout sometime between now and the draft; however, at least eight other teams are known to also have interest in the 23-year-old. That’s a lot of enthusiasm for a player who didn’t play for an NCAA Division I school until his senior season, but there’s plenty of reasons for it: White was a late bloomer, didn’t follow the typical AAU path and dedicated three years of playing for an unheralded Division II program.
Well, the secret is nearly all out in the open now. After adding four inches and tearing apart the competition at Colorado Springs, he averaged 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists in his lone year at the main campus of the University of Colorado. Additionally, he shot almost 57% from inside the arc and 40% outside of it. And to top it all off, he kicked in 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks.
The only collegiate player to post similar numbers across the board over the last ten years? Markelle Fultz.
Before you dismiss White for being much older, realize that very few collegians have ever recorded 18/4/4 and a block a game. It’s quite a small list which happens to include Anfernee Hardaway and Dwyane Wade.
For a player who wasn’t regarded as possessing great athleticism and was entrusted with point guard duties in midstream this past season, his statistical output speaks volumes about his basketball IQ. Perhaps the best example of his ability to adjust quickly came in the two meetings between Colorado and the University of Arizona.
Scouts marveled at the growth White has made in a short time against top-flight competition. In his third conference game last season, against Arizona, White managed just seven points and struggled to find his rhythm. During the Pac-12 tournament two months later, against the same Wildcats teeming with potential NBA players, White went for 31 points, six rebounds and five assists in a loss.
Once his Buffalo team was eliminated from the 2017 NIT tournament, White continued to post highlights. First, he played well enough at the 2017 Portsmouth Invitational — 3-game averages of 15.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 blocks — that he was awarded a ticket to the NBA Combine. Amid a stronger cast, he measured well and acquitted himself nicely in 5-on-5 competitions.
Since leaving Legend High School, it’s apparent the different levels of competition have never presented a problem. White’s 6’-5’’ height and 6’-7.5’’ wingspan, which incidentally measure very similar to Jrue Holiday, have been game changers. The versatility of his game has been another strength as he is a rare driving, passing and shooting triple threat. Oh, and his athleticism should never be considered a negative, not when he can throw down over opponents like this!
For his exploits, the point guard was selected to the Pac-12’s First Team and the All-Defensive team. A senior who was accoladed on both sides of the ball within his conference should remind you of another recent standout.
Malcolm Brogdon can say he has not only dunked all over LeBron James, but the rest of the league for allowing him to drop to the Milwauke Bucks at the 36th selection of last year’s weak draft.
Currently, DraftExpress has White pegged to go 33rd in their updated mock draft, but Nbadraft.net has him at a more distant 45th. A solid article on CBS claims he should be a top-40 pick, yet Chad Ford of ESPN has him 44th in his Top 100.
So yeah, the New Orleans Pelicans should probably be prepared to see his name already off the board by the time their only draft pick rolls around. However, in the event Derrick White is still there for the taking, R-U-N, Dell Demps, and claim your fortunate prize!