MURPHY’S LAW: Royce Rolls.
I’ve tried to imagine what I really think is best for Royce White, and there’s no clear answer.
White seems so at peace with his life in Ames, and for a guy with an anxiety disorder and checkered past, that’s no small thing. He also needs a jump shot, and a drastic upgrade in free throw shooting success. I have no doubt White would be a better player after another season at Iowa State.
However, I’m not sure his draft stock will be any higher. He’ll still only be 6-8, and it’s hard to imagine White coming off nationally televised games where he turned more heads and dropped more jaws than he did against UConn and Kentucky.
At NBA Draft.net, White’s projected draft position went up 81 spots in one week. He climbed from 101 to 20. Some in the Cyclone basketball offices think White could go even higher once scouts sit down with him. He’s an impressive interview. Those scouts will also want White to address concerns about his past, though he’s mostly put those fears to rest in Ames, and his fear of flying, which is not debilitating, but something he prefers not doing. White can and does fly, though if given a choice, he’d rather drive. He won’t have a choice in the NBA.
I do believe coach Fred Hoiberg acted unselfishly, despite the conflict of interest, and told White to strike while the iron’s hot. I also think White will do all he can to influence players looking for a fresh start to consider Iowa State. Why wouldn’t he?
Iowa State can’t fill White’s shoes. Even if they found someone with really big feet. That doesn’t mean they can’t have an even better season next year. It just means the Cyclones will have a different look. It was fun watching a 6-8 guy bring the ball up the court and make passes many point guards don’t attempt. White will be missed, and not easily replaced.
I think big picture, if you’re Hoiberg, you know getting a guy one-and-done to the NBA reinforces your recruiting pitch that you can make the dream come true that all recruits have. If you’re a Cyclone fan, you realize if your program’s going to stay relevant, you’re going to lose players early.
I’m still not sure White did the best thing, but I hope he did.