Iowa State one-year wonder Royce White’s either back-end NBA Draft lottery material or a middle-of-the-road selection.
Depends on whom you ask.
But suffice it to say Cyclone coach Fred Hoiberg sees the first-team all-Big 12 do-everything point forward more up the chart then down during the June 28 draft.
“The big thing I think teams are looking for with Royce is doing a lot of background work and interviewing him,” Hoiberg said during Thursday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference. “From everybody I’ve talked to, he’s done an excellent job with that. He got hurt the second day of (last week’s) combine, which is unfortunate because he missed the testing. He had neck spasms and was unable to do the testing where I think he would have set some all-time records.”
White — who Hoiberg said bench-pressed 185 pounds 30 times in pre-combine workouts in Ames — made quite an impression as a Cyclone, despite only taking the court one season.
He led ISU in scoring, rebounds and assists while publicly campaigning to raise awareness about anxiety and other mental disorders.
“Anxiety, I would say for me, as much as it’s a burden, it’s also a gift,” White said last season. “It helps me balance different things.”
White also made Hoiberg and his staff adopt an unorthodox approach to offensive sets — in a good way.
The Cyclones reached the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament in their first appearance since 2005 thanks in part to White’s ability to create mismatches.
“We just played to the strengths of out guys last year,” Hoiberg said. “We played through Royce the majority of our offensive possessions, whether he was bringing the ball down on the break, or he was facilitating on the perimeter. A lot of times we played through him on the elbows then we’d get him the ball in the post and let him go to work down there and see how teams played us.”
And this year?
“We’ll probably play a little faster, with (point guard Korie Lucious’s) speed, with our wings, with (guard) Chris Babb. We’ve got (guard) Tyrus McGee and (forward) Will Clyburn becoming eligible for us this year. We’ve got some very athletic freshman coming in and joining our program and then with (forward) Melvin Ejim, who’s as fast a player at his position I think we have in our league. And then (forward/center) Percy Gibson, I think, will have a very solid sophomore season, as well.
“So the pieces that we have now resemble more of a traditional lineup as opposed to last year. That was just the uniqueness of our team and the uniqueness of Royce’s game — why we played like we did last season.”
Fans wanting to catch a glimpse — minus the defense — of how ISU will shape up this winter can watch Capital City Summer League games starting Friday night at Valley Southwoods and/or Valley High School in West Des Moines.
Newcomers slated to play in the league (see roster and schedule, below) include incoming freshmen Georges Niang, Kerwin Okoro and Sherron Dorsey-Walker.
“I’m excited about the style we’re going to play next year,” Hoiberg said.
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