HOUSTON — At this point, as the end of his four-year career as a Wildcat is nearing a close, Ryan Arcidiacono's heard and answered every type of question.
On Friday morning, he was thrown a wildcard. In an intimate open breakout session, a reporter asked Arcidiacono if he was "underestimated" by opponents because he was a "small, white guy with choir boy looks." An interesting question, no doubt, and one he'd not been asked before.
"That's the first time I've heard that in my four years," he said with a laugh. He continued on.
"Yeah, for sure. You'll have to ask my opponents. My first couple of years ... yeah, yeah — this small, little white guy on the floor. "
As far as point guards go, Arcidiacono, at 6-4 and nearly 190 pounds, isn't all that undersized. He's got a good handful of inches on other point guards like Kentucky's Tyler Ulis (5-9) and Miami's Angel Rodriguez (5-11), for example.
But it seems the perception outweighs reality, if this particular question is any indication.
"If I see another white guy on the floor, I don't think he stinks," Arcidiacono said. "I definitely get a lot of hate for being the white guy on Twitter. People just don't like a good, white basketball player. I don't know why."
A reporter interjected — "Like (Duke's) J.J. Redick?"
Arcidiacono laughed again, telling the reporter that the disdain for the former Duke star was "a whole different level" than anything he's experienced from social media. He joked that Redick's had to change his phone number "five or six times," which is at least four more than the Villanova star has had to do with his own.
Of course, Redick is an anomaly. There are plenty of other "good, white basketball players" who were beloved: Larry Bird, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, John Stockton and even recent cult-favorite Kristaps Porzingis.
Whatever underestimation or miscalculation of his talents that Arcidiacono endures — and he was quick to note that he can't be sure how often or if it happens — serves as fuel to be a better player.
"I take pride in it — try to be the toughest guy on the floor and the hardest working," he said.