Derrick White, former Buffalo, hero of the world, savior of the damned, is putting himself in great position to hear his name called in the 2017 NBA Draft. White is projected by many to be a surefire second round selection, and if he continues surprising and improving, he could find himself drafted in the first round.
White was one of the elite players in the Pac-12 in his single season at Colorado, and in a conference brimming with NBA talent, White was one of only two players named First Team All-Pac-12 and First Team All-Defense (Oregon’s Jordan Bell was the other). Even more impressively, he was one of only three players in all of college basketball to average at least 18 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steals and 1 block. The only two players were Michael Weathers of Miami (Ohio) and presumptive 1st overall pick Markelle Fultz of Washington.
White was omnipresent for the Buffs as he was the team’s lead point guard, best shooter, best on-ball defender, and even their most consistent rim protector. Countless times, White carried the team to victory seemingly on his own. If White was unable to help the team to victory despite his grandeur — like his 31-point, 6-rebound, 5-assist trashing of First Team All-Defense selection Kadeem Allen and Arizona’s usually great defense — he certainly tried valiantly.
The craziest thing about Derrick White’s play this past season is that not only was he effectively carrying the Buffs on his back all season, but it was his first ever season playing Division-1 competition. White was immediately CU’s best player, but as the season progressed, he improved every single game.
Derrick White is fairly old for an NBA prospect — he’s about to turn 23 — but his continual improvement is why he’s skyrocketing up draft boards. White was always going to offer stability and immediate contribution as a potential second round pick — think Malcolm Brogdon with the Milwaukee Bucks — but because of his late growth spurt and his impressive NBA Draft Combine measurements, many teams believe he has yet-untapped potential.
The NBA Draft Combine is still underway and teams are still trying to get a feel for which players they like best, but it’s fair to say that White has put himself in the best position possible. If you see White’s name called in the first round, don’t be surprised. He’s already an incredible player and he’s only going to improve in the NBA.