Michael Jordan's trainer: Royce White is a future first-round pick
May 11, 2010 — 2:20pm
Tim Grover quickly earned a reputation as one of the NBA's best private trainers when he helped Michael Jordan enhance his game in the late '80s.
Since then, he's worked with some of the NBA's best players, including current stars like Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard.
This guy knows talent when he sees it.
After a recent in-person evaluation of former Gophers forward Royce White, who withdrew from school in February, he predicts that the former Hopkins star will be a first-round NBA draft pick in "maybe a year or two."
White recently reached out to Grover. The two connected at Grover's Chicago-based Attack Athletics facility within the last month.
"Obviously, he’s a little bit out of condition," Grover said Tuesday. "His skill level was still extremely high. He has a real nice feel for the game. He’s definitely still a high-level Division player."
White has not accepted a scholarship offer to play at a Division I school next season. The late signing period ends next week.
He left the Gophers following a troubled start to his collegiate career, which included legal problems.
White has reportedly asked Tubby Smith for a chance to return to the team. But a source close to the program said Gophers staffers still have concerns about White's behavioral challenges and his social circle. The Gophers have one available scholarship to use on their 2010 class, the one White gave up when he unexpectedly left school earlier this year.
Grover said he advised White to return to school and told him to make better decisions in the future.
"We did talk to him about it," Grover said. "We just said, 'Everything you do, there's a consequence for it. … Don’t run from it."
He added: "They were undecided on what they were going to do. He didn’t know what to do."
Grover said White has the necessary "pieces" to play in the pros. He said he has to work on his ballhandling, shot mechanics and defense, challenges for every young college player.
His raw talent, however, is undeniable, Grover said.
"He's very physical around the basket," he said. "He's a lot more athletic than I thought he’d be. He’s got knack for putting the ball in the basket."
That means a lot coming from a guy who's trained some of the NBA's best.
Here's a clip from one of Grover's workouts with Wade, an NBA all-star and Chicago native:
This is Amelia Rayno's fifth season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.