Before being released, Royce White played in two exhibition games with the Philadelphia 76ers in October. His stats weren’t good – Royce missed eight of 12 shots, he racked up eight fouls in nearly 33 minutes of action, alongside five turnovers and nine rebounds. He was also, clearly, out of shape, and even thrown out of one of those games.
He also looked the part of an NBA basketball player, though, the sort of unique point forward type that often leaves scouts and obsessive NBA freaks drooling. White hasn’t been able to do much on the NBA level with those significant gifts in the year and a half since he left Iowa State. A frustrating partnership with the Houston Rockets ended after a short preseason stint, a trip to the Rockets’ D-League team in Rio Grande didn’t produce much, and a reuniting with former Rockets executive (and new’ish Sixers general manager) Sam Hinkie in Philadelphia last summer obviously didn’t pan out.
Somewhat quiet save for his Twitter feed, White says he doesn’t want his NBA career to be finished. Back home in Ames, Iowa, White talked up his still-intriguing potential as an NBA contributor to Randy Peterson at the Des Moines Register:
"I'm optimistic it will happen," the former Iowa State star said. "We're in contact with some teams. "Quite a few more than expected. People are more understanding than you think. It's not an insensitive crowd. There are teams involved.
"It's finding a situation that's appropriate."
White went on to say that he’s looking for a team with “the right setup,” but wouldn’t go as far as to say that the team would have to guarantee that Royce didn’t have to fly to games. White suffers from anxiety disorder, and a part of his particular case makes flying an unpleasant experience for him to say the absolute least.
He flew to preseason games with the 76ers, though, and he’d like potential NBA suitors to understand that things may have changed along those lines. From Peterson’s interview:
"That's been overblown, but that is the world that is the media," he said. "I flew the preseason without medication, partly to show that I was willing to travel and to see if I could do it."
Of course, that’s not enough. NBA teams would be hard-pressed to make certain flying sacrifices and commitments to even the starriest of stars, much less a player in White who has looked out of shape in all three of his brief stops as a pro. Royce didn’t go into the specifics about what “the right setup” would entail with a potential new team, which has been a source of annoyance and possibly resentment for executives in both Houston and Philadelphia.
It’s part of the reason why, as White points out, his basketball career is “in flux.” As it’s been since June of 2012, we’re hoping that some sort of combination of factors could collude to get Royce White on a basketball court with some strain of consistency.
As it’s also been since June of 2012, we understand fully if White’s issues with anxiety get in the way. Sometimes, despite the best intentions, it’s not something that can ever be overcome.
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