Jerry Zgoda's Sunday Insider: Royce who? White agrees to go to D-League

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 30, 2012 - 7:39 PM

Royce White didn't give Kevin McHale the chance to miss him, leaving the team in a dispute; Saturday night, the Rockets announced the first-round pick had agreed to go to the D League.

hide

Royce White, Houston’s pick at No. 16 in the 2012 NBA draft, remains away from the team.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Kevin McHale made the NBA’s all-interview team year after year when he played long ago for the Boston Celtics, and then turned an Irishman’s gift of gab into a successful television commentary career both before and after his 15 years spent leading the Timberwolves organization.

It’s not often he is rendered speechless, but it nearly happened before his Houston Rockets played his former team at Target Center on Wednesday night.

That’s when somebody asked him about a guy named Royce White and McHale for a moment appeared dumbfounded.

“Ooof,” he said. “That’s a good question.”

Minneapolis born and raised, White was the most enigmatic talent in last summer’s draft, a uniquely gifted big man who also came with serious questions about an anxiety disorder and his ability to professionally fulfill the demands of a long, grueling NBA season.

The Rockets wagered the 16th overall pick on him, drafting White based on one season at Iowa State that rehabilitated his image after he was suspended and quit the Gophers without playing a game.

Nearly two months into his rookie season, White still hasn’t played an NBA game.

He remained away from the team since the regular season’s opening days until Saturday, when the Rockets sent him to their Development League affiliate and he agreed to go.

Until Saturday, White’s pro career was put on hold for nearly two months not because of his fear of flying but rather a disagreement with the Rockets over how to handle and treat his anxiety disorder.
He seemingly became persona non grata everywhere but in the Twittersphere, where he took his cause against the Rockets in a nearly daily exchange with followers and others interested observers.

“This is important to me,” he wrote in a statement posted on Twitter in November. “It is a health issue. I must advocate for my rights.”

Many of those followers supported his crusade for mental-illness awareness.

Others who have followed his career and watched him quit the Gophers after being suspended without playing a game offered their opinions, too. They urged him, in no uncertain terms, to stop using his condition as an excuse not to be held accountable for his actions and tell him to go back to work.

McHale said last week he believes White eventually will, although it’s unknown when White will earn his way back from the D League to the Rockets and the NBA.

“I would hope so, I’d assume he would,” McHale said. “But I shouldn’t say anything because I don’t even know. Someone asked me that the other day and I had to pause and go, 'Wow.’ So much stuff going on.”

McHale has had other matters on his mind with a team that remade itself by signing free agents Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin last summer and an October blockbuster trade for James Harden, with a life turned upside down when he took a month’s leave of absence to be with his 23-year-old daughter, Sasha, who died in late November from lupus-related complications.

All of which has given him precious little time to ponder the status and future of a big man who possesses guard skills but comes with so many other issues.

“I don’t know,” McHale said when asked about White’s status. “Royce has kind of been away from us for a while and then I was gone for a while, too. And honestly, to be truthful, he has been kind of, he hasn’t been around. I just haven’t seen. As crazy as it may seem, you just go with the guys who are there. Your focus is on playing.

“In our league, you know how it is: Out of sight, out of mind.”

  • related content

  • Jerry Zgoda's short takes

    Saturday December 29, 2012

    All's fair in love and ...The Brooklyn Nets found it easy to be cool -- new city, new uniforms, new...

  • The Wolves' week ahead

    Saturday December 29, 2012

    Wednesday: 8 p.m. at Utah (FSN). Thursday: 8 p.m. at Denver (FSN). Saturday: 7 p.m. vs. Portland (Ch. 29)/.Player to...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 67 FINAL
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close