If Iowa State is going to return to the NCAA tournament next season, the Cyclones will apparently have to do it without their most indispensable player.
CBSSports.com is reporting sophomore forward Royce White will announce at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that he has signed with an agent and will enter the NBA draft. A text message to White's mother, Rebecca White, seeking confirmation was not immediately returned.
The apparent departure of White would be an unsurprising yet damaging blow to an Iowa State program that also graduates starting guards Scott Christopherson and Chris Allen.
White averaged 13.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game in his lone season with the Cyclones, posting a triple-double in January against Texas A&M and threatening for others several times. The 6-foot-8 Minnesota transfer was at his best in the NCAA tournament, posting 15 points and 13 rebounds against UConn in an opening-round win and then erupting for 23 against top-ranked Kentucky in a loss Saturday night.
Most draft projections have White in the latter half of the first round because of his versatility and playmaking ability at the forward position. He potentially could have cemented himself as a lottery pick had he returned to school next year, though NBA teams will probably have concerns about his past legal trouble at Minnesota and the anxiety disorder that sometimes makes it difficult for him to fly.
While traveling for AAU tournaments during high school, White often suffered from panic attacks before boarding a plane that would leave him short of breath. He still has enough trouble with air travel that he drove from Ames to Louisville for Iowa State's NCAA tournament sub-regional.
If flying is the most difficult part of White's transition to the NBA, then that speaks to his potential to be an impact player at that level.
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