Terrico White doesn’t know if he made the right decision.
After emerging as one of the SEC’s top players during the 2009-2010 season at Ole Miss, White — then just finishing his sophomore year — declared for the 2010 NBA Draft. Projected by some as a first-round pick, he slipped to the Pistons in the second round, with the No. 36 overall selection.
Still, at 20 years old and with potential galore, White’s future was promising. Yet, just four minutes into his first ever preseason game with the Pistons, he fractured his foot. Just like that, the former SEC Freshman of the Year’s rookie season was over.
“I’m not sure if I should’ve stayed, it’s a tough question,” a candid White told DIME, while reminiscing about his days with Mississippi. “To be honest, sometimes I think I should have been there longer. But other times, I’m happy with what I’m doing now. It’s 50-50, really.”
Despite his hesitation over whether he truly made the correct choice to declare, White’s career has been far from disappointing, and it’s still a long way from being done. The 6-foot-5 guard is on the training-camp roster for the Phoenix Suns this fall, and he’ll have to overcome some tough competition to earn his first NBA roster slot.
The Suns currently have 18 players on their roster, including 13 guaranteed contracts entering the 2015-16 season. They can only have 15 players on their roster (13 active and two inactive). Aside from White, former Harvard standout Kyle Casey and former Nevada point guard Deonte Burton are competing for spots (Burton was recently waived). There is a strong likelihood some will end up playing for Phoenix’s D-League affiliate, the Bakersfield Jam.
Whether he would even want to play in the D-League, though, is still up in the air. White has had one stop there already, with the Idaho Stampede following his release from the Pelicans in December of 2011. The high-flyer played in 18 games, averaging 12.5 points and shooting an impressive 48.9 percent from the field.
“The D-League definitely helped me prepare for this,” White tells us. “Even though I didn’t finish the season because I was hurt, I really did well when I was out there and feel that I learned a lot from that season.
“I’m not sure what I would do if this doesn’t work out. It really depends on the situation in the D-League and whether they’re going to bring down their rookies at all during the season. But overseas, let’s say a good team offers me good money, I might just go back.”
Although he has yet to play in an NBA game, White is an experienced professional basketball player. The Memphis native has played in Serbia, Turkey, Israel, and Russia over the last few years.
“Playing overseas really helped me a lot. It added to my game,” Terrico says. “They’re highly skilled, but the pace of the game is slower there, and the defense is really compact. This forces you to shoot, and really helped improve my own shooting.”
But his ultimate goal, of course, is to make an NBA roster and play in his first actual NBA game.
“I have to lay it all out right now. I think I would fit perfectly with the Suns, just from being down there and playing with the guys,” he said. “They really like to get up and down the court and that’s a big part of my game, you know, playing in transition, getting to the hoop, shooting threes, dunking and all of that.”
Now White, while still unsure if he should have stayed in school, is just trying to make it back to the NBA. And stay there this time.