Royce White, The Writer
We got up with the 16th overall pick to talk Houston Rockets, writing and more.
It’s oh-so evident that rookie Royce White is oh-so talented on the court. Between his play at Iowa State (13.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 5.0 apg this past season), the Houston Rockets selection of him with the 16th pick in this past June’s Draft and his two almost triple-doubles during Summer League in Las Vegas, there’s no questioning his basketball bonafides. But as the 6-8 forward from Minnesota reminded SLAM in Tarrytown, NY, during 2012 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot, where players were photographed for their first official Panini trading cards, there’s a whole lot more to him than meets the eye.
Earlier this summer, Jonathan Abrams of Grantland wrote a well-written, well-informed feature that detailed White’s journey and touched on his other interests. In that definitive piece, the 21-year-old White talks about his anxiety disorder, his offbeat, to say the least, college experience, and his musical inclination. At Panini’s photo shoot earlier this week, which he arrived at rocking a washed orange beard, White rehashed on some of the aforementioned old news and filled in the rest of the blanks. Oh, he also talked about basketball and the Houston Rockets.
SLAM: Some people raved about some things you did during Summer League, specifically your passing. Do you feel like you have a lot of tools that people maybe don’t know about?
Royce White: Not really. I do a number of different things that are unique for my position and size, but not too much different from what I did at Iowa State. I would just say that there are probably going to be more people who know about it now.
SLAM: Were you impressed at all by your own play in Vegas?
RW: Actually, I was not impressed. I had about two games in the beginning where I just couldn’t get anything going, and then I had three games where I should have had a triple-double and couldn’t get to it. So, nah, but I think that’s good, though. I’m still at a point where I feel like I can grow.
SLAM: I mean, the Rockets are a really young team. What do you think about when you look at the roster, and do you see opportunity there for yourself?
RW: For me, I just want to go out and work hard and provide what I can provide for the team, no matter how heavy or limited the load is that is impressed upon me by the coaching staff. As far as the rest of the roster being young, I think it’s a great chance for us to growth together and kind of form our own identity as a team.
SLAM: Has Coach McHale told you at all what he hopes to see from you or what he wants you to work on?
RW: He just wants me to work on everything. It’s such a transition as a rookie, there’s really no one area where you can say, “Just work on this.” He just wants me to work and understand that it’s a hard game and it’s played by hard men.
SLAM: I saw that Craig Brackins spent some time with you earlier this summer. Did he have any old head advice?
RW: Yeah, he gave me a lot of old head advice! We spent a lot of time in Ames together, we both lived there right before the Draft. We got real close. We kind of have our own two little crews, but we kind of formed one big crew when we got back to Iowa State. And he just told me, it’s a crazy League and it’s a crazy business, and it doesn’t always go your way. He said, the only defense you can have against that is working hard and being a professional and just try to stay in favor.
SLAM: People talk a lot about off the court stuff with you. Do you sort of wish they would just focus on your game at this point?
RW: Nah, I don’t mind it. People talk about what they think sells. For me being a writer, I understand embellishment and the business of writing, so I actually respect that me having a misdemeanor could be carried on for four or five years. (Laughs) It’s one of the best businesses in the world. You can make a living off of absolutely nothing.
SLAM: What have you taken from RTP (Rookie Transition Program) so far?
RW: I’m learning a lot. I’ve been through a lot of things in my life that prepared me in such a way for this moment already, so I think I’m ahead of some of the guys because of the stuff I’ve been through. But I think it’s a great opportunity for a lot of really young guys, guys that went one year or two years, to really learn how to surround themselves with the right people and assets to aid them.
SLAM: So is writing something you’re going to keep up throughout the season?
RW: Oh, yeah. I write everything. I write music. I write movies. I write business plans (laughs). I write. That’s what I am—a writer. It’s something I do everyday.
SLAM: You use notebooks or your phone or what?
RW: I used to do it in my notebooks but I got OCD about it so I used to spend a lot of time ripping pages out and rewriting because I didn’t think it was neat enough. So, I switched over to my laptop.
SLAM: You write about ball at all or everything but ball?
RW: No. I don’t write about ball at all. I write about everything else.