You might know him for just one thing, and that’s alright at this point. Everyone loves someone that can rise, and Terrico White definitely can (he has a 40-plus inch vertical leap). Maybe we would’ve heard more from him last year had a fractured right foot not kept him out for the entire season. But for now, he’s still an unknown.
The 6-5 guard played all of four minutes in the Pistons’ preseason opener last year before hurting his foot. Then during the season, he was wrongly mentioned on ESPN as part of a reported deal with Carmelo Anthony. That was pretty much the only thing heard from him all year.
But White, Detroit’s second round pick last year, says he’s “90-95%” ready, working out in both Memphis and in Detroit, and is itching to make a name for himself next season.
White’s always been a two-footed jumper, but now his personal trainer Adam Wilson (who’s worked with other NBA players like Paul Pierce, Brandon Jennings & Baron Davis), says the rehab often forced White to do more explosive stuff off one foot. Wilson says, “He’s even scarier now.”
Since the end of this year, the two have spent a ton of time not only working to get the foot strong again (and if you have any doubts, check out these videos White posted on his Twitter), but also working to improve his skill set.
“Everybody knows him for jumping over guys and doing these crazy dunks,” Wilson says, “but, I don’t really try to focus on that solely with him because you know basketball like I do and eventually, all of that leaves. Then all you have left is your skill.”
Skill and a basketball brain. With a roster stacked with veteran guards, many were banking on the older guys to help bring White along last season, teach him the NBA ropes. But because of the injury, that really didn’t happen. White says that was difficult.
“They really weren’t teaching me any on-court stuff because as you know I was injured the whole year so I really couldn’t get on the court like that,” he says. “They taught me how to manage my money and all that stuff.”
So with that, his routine was shot. All he did was rehab and chill, playing lots of Madden (supposedly, he’s a BEAST).
Next year, White’s biggest problem might continue to be playing time. He’s stuck on a depth chart with Rip Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum and Ben Gordon. But Wilson thinks the marriage between Detroit and White could definitely work.
“I think that city has been longing for a player like him,” Wilson says. “He’s young. He’s exciting, and he’s all about hard work and that’s what that city is. It’s not a glamour city. It’s a gritty city. People go to work 9 to 5 there so they can respect his work ethic. He’s a real humble kid too. He really fits that mold.”
Gordon told me something similar earlier this week.
“He’s a great athlete and shoots the ball well,” Gordon says. “He can get to spots on the floor and raise up over smaller guards because of his athleticism so I think with his skill set, he can definitely help the team. It’s a matter of how he’s used and how he plays.”
Wilson believes White can do the same things other explosive, aggressive point guards like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook have done, just with a few more inches of height.
“This kid right here is going to be the next big thing in the NBA,” Wilson says. “He’s gonna transform that PG position.”
Those are some BIG expectations.
With a possible Slam Dunk Contest in his future, White says people still ask him about this YouTube video from the Rookie Photo Shoot last year (and no, he won’t give away any of his best dunks). A second-round pick who missed his entire rookie season, there isn’t much else to talk about right now. But he’s hoping that’ll change.
“I just want to come in, work hard and try to earn my keep,” he says, “try to earn playing time and hopefully start. Really just go from there.”
What do you think?
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