Royce White, the high-maintenance forward of the Philadelphia 76ers, was waived by the team last night, and it’s unclear if he’ll have a future in the NBA.
I’ll never forget the last time I saw Royce White play a meaningful basketball game: March 17, 2012. White, playing for Iowa State, was going up against eventual-NCAA champ Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats were heavy favorites, and had a roster overflowing with future NBA players – Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquise Teague and Terrence Jones, to name a few.
Royce White was the best player on the floor that night. It was clear to anyone who watched the game. He single-handily kept the Cyclones within striking distance for about 30 minutes, even though they’d eventually lose, 87-71.
At 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, White won over the viewing audience with a bevy of highlight-reel plays, including this coast-to-coast dunk on Davis. [If you have time, most of the game is on YouTube. Bonus: Verne & Raftery on the call.] His line: 23 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block. A captivating all-around performance that vaulted him up draft boards. A few days after the game, he declared for the NBA.
It’s been all downhill from there. No, really – there hasn’t been one ounce of positive news about Royce White in the last 18 months. Some of the headlines:
November 2012: Royce White Sent to NBA D-League Because He Doesn’t Attend Games or Practice, Goes Off on Twitter
November 2012: Royce White Attacking Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter Over Week-Old Article About His Problems With the Rockets
December 2012: Royce White Has Issued a Statement Refusing Assignment to the D-League
May 2013: Royce White Talks Trash to Kevin Durant on Twitter Because He Obviously Isn’t in the Building With the Rockets
September 2013: Royce White Under Investigation For Roughing Up Tania Mehra, a Former Maxim Model He Used to Date [UPDATE]
White struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety disorder, which have obviously contributed to his NBA predicament. He’s only 22, but perhaps this is the wake-up call his career needs. The scariest part in all of this? The 76ers roster is devoid of talent. It might be the worst in the NBA. Philadelphia will struggle to win 20 games this year.
If White can’t make the roster of the NBA’s worst team, how is he going to get back in the NBA?