Derrick White is a virtual lock to be selected in the 2017 NBA Draft. For the omnipresent fifth-year senior from Colorado, it’s a question of when, not if, he will be drafted. White is quickly moving up draft boards and with his impressive NBA Draft Combine performance, he looks like a potential first round pick.
White has flown under the draft radar perhaps more than any other first round prospect in this draft cycle. White was always overlooked before coming to CU, but even once he reached Boulder, the Buffs’ lack of consistent team play meant his dominance was unnoticed by those in college basketball media and in NBA circles. People outside of Colorado are now realizing how great of a player White is and how much potential he still has.
Another reason White has been overlooked is that he doesn’t appear to be an NBA-level athlete. Supposedly, White isn’t very large, not particularly fast or quick, and doesn’t even leap as well as many prospects. As a result of middling athleticism, his game wouldn’t translate to the highest level of competition. But after the NBA Combine, all of that is debunked.
White is fairly skinny, but he’s now listed at 6’4.5, 190-lbs. with a 6’7.5 wingspan — great length for a point guard — and considering his late growth spurt and that he didn’t start filling out until his 2015-16 redshirt season, he has room to get bigger and stronger. White also measured to have an 8’5.5 standing reach, which is, somehow, a three-inch improvement from his testing at the Portsmouth Invitational.
Athletically, White looks like the athlete his in-game explosive ability that we’ve seen before. He had a fantastic 35.5” no-step vertical leap and a 36.5” max vertical leap. For comparison, Über-athletes Alec Burks and André Roberson had 29” and 30” no-step leaps, and 36” and 36.5” max leaps, respectively.
Julian Applebome of DraftExpress wrote a great profile comparing White’s athleticism to other prospects and pros:
Colorado Guard Derrick White posted the second best three-quarter sprint time at 3.08 (97th percentile historically) and tied for the third best standing vertical leap at 35.5 (99th percentile historically). The D2 transfer combo guard was a rather unheralded prospect until this season. White measured 6'4.5 with shoes with a 6'7.5 wingspan which is very similar to the physical measurements of Chicago Bulls guard Jerian Grant, but his athletic testing results are very similar to those of Mike Conley's.
Jerian Grant, by the way, did this once:
To see the similarity with White, here’s White’s dunk against Utah that I’m contractually obligated to embed in every basketball article I write:
Aside from testing similarly with gravity-defying former first round picks, White was marvelous in the combine’s five-on-five drills. When surrounded with NBA-level talent, White’s elite feel for the game and his high basketball IQ make him a force to be reckoned with. That performance bodes extremely well for White as the pre-draft testing comes to a close.
Derrick White the best player on the floor so far. Making shots and showing his vision as a lead guard. Top prospect in 5 on 5 for me.— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) May 12, 2017
Derrick White is by far the best player in this first five-on-five game. Dominating the action as a lead guard, diming and shooting.— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) May 12, 2017
Derrick White, through his years and years of determination, has a great chance to be the first Buffalo since André Roberson to be a first round pick. The season and pre-draft testing are finished, so now it’s just interviews and training that White will assuredly ace.