After leading Iowa State to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005 Royce White is moving on. The sophomore forward announced he is leaving school to enter the NBA draft.
White averaged better than 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists as I.S.U. posted a 23-11 record and averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds in two NCAA Tournament games this past weekend.
“It’s been decided by the people that I trust that to become a professional is probably what’s best, so I won’t be returning next year to Iowa State,” White said. “But again, thank you to the Cyclone Nation and everybody who supported me in this journey.”
White says the decision was reached after the Cyclones returned to Ames following a season ending loss to top ranked Kentucky. He says he talked with coach Fred Hoiberg and says he talked with others he cared about and took it from there.
White says he is not sure where he projects in the NBA draft. “The draft guys have moved me up on some of the mock drafts, but I’ve been told that that really doesn’t matter,” White said. “Right now I am just going to go back and work and try to improve my game because this is really just the start of it and there’s always the chance that I don’t make it. And that’s something that I’m willing to live with.”
White began his college career at Minnesota but transferred to Iowa State before he ever played a game for the Gophers. He says his team at Iowa State made him a better player and a better person. “My life was not in a great place when I first arrived here two years ago. The basketball thing was one piece, but more so, this community, and living in this community and see how great it is, how well it functions and how much the people do for each other here, really allowed me to reflect and find myself as a man and become better off as human being and move forward with who I want to be for the rest of my life,” White said.
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg believes White has the skills needed to make it in the NBA. Hoiberg says the spacing is better in the NBA and there are not a lot of people who can stay in front of White, and he will do well in the league.
Hoiberg says he visited with a number of people he knows in the NBA about White’s potential draft status. “There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but from the initial thoughts from the people that I talked to that I trust…it made it a pretty easy recommendation to him and let him make the choice,” Hoiberg said. “And that was the big thing…we wanted to gather as much information as possible and then let Royce make that final decision.”
Hoiberg says while he would love to have White play for the Cyclones next season he supports his decision to move on. White was an All Big 12 selection this past season and was named the league’s newcomer of the year.