Few players in college basketball draw such varying opinions over his pro potential than Ole Miss Terrico White
. A relatively unheralded high school recruit who was thrust into the role of Ole Miss starting point guard very early on in his freshman season, White was named freshman of the year in the SEC and has seen his draft stock fluctuate dramatically ever since.
The physical tools that White brings to the table are simply undeniable. With ample size at 6-5 to play either backcourt position, White sports a ridiculously long wingspan to go along with an outstanding frame and superior athleticism.
The place that White has clearly improved the most between his freshman and sophomore seasons is with his shooting stroke. His mid-range game looks like a potentially superb weapon for the NBA, sporting great elevation on his jump-shot, incredibly smooth mechanics, and an ultra quick release.
Despite the fact that he rarely gets to the basket (only 26% of his shooting attempts come around the rim), his field goal percentages have improved this season, largely due to the fact that hes shooting 37% from beyond the arc. He shoots the ball the same pretty much every timealways looking extremely smooth and natural in the processand would probably be converting at a much better rate if he were able to improve his shot-selection.
As a shot-creator, White has plenty of room for improvement, something that was probably masked to a certain extent last year when he played the point full time and had the ball in his hands all the time. His ball-handling skillsparticularly with his left handare average, and he rarely gets to the free throw line despite showing a terrific first step and outstanding body control in the lane.
Too often White is content taking a pick and just settling for a pull-up jumper, rarely looking to get all the way to the basket. When he does get into the paint, its usually to try a floater from 5-8 feet away, a shot that is nice to see in his arsenal but he relies on far too heavily upon considering the degree of difficulty. He has a great deal to learn about the nuances of initiating contact and finishing strong around the basket, as hes far too physically gifted to be content making a living in the mid-range.
As a point guard, White has clearly taken a step back from last year. He averages a miniscule amount of assists1.7 per-40 minutes pace adjusted, ranking him dead last
in assist ratio amongst all point guards or combo guards in college basketball. While there are plenty of counterarguments that can be made to justify this stathe plays next to a very wild and often selfish point guard (Chris Warren
) who thoroughly dominates the ballthere is no way around the fact that in the minutes that he does man the point he dribbles the ball with his head down and rarely shows much in the way of playmaking instincts.
To Whites credit, he does a terrific job of not turning the ball overranking 1st in that category
as well. Hes been criticized at times for not being assertive enough, something that this stat seems to hint at, but clearly his role on this Ole Miss team is to act as a finisher and not a creator.
Defensively, White has taken a big step forward this year. Thats not a surprise when you consider his outstanding potential in this area, with his terrific size, length, strength and athleticism. On the ball he uses his tools exceptionally well to stay in front of his man and force contested looks, but off the ball his occasional lack of intensity and fundamentals will result in some easy baskets for the opposition.
White is the type of player who can come into an NBA private workout and absolutely blow a team away with his physical tools, shooting stroke and tremendous upside. At the same time, his lack of assertiveness as a slasher is concerning, and there is no doubt that he could use another season in college to stabilize his draft stock, become more confident on and off the court, and continue to add polish to his very improvable weaknesses. Hell be facing a tough decision regarding whether or not to declare for the draft this spring. On one hand his talent is undeniable, but on the other weve seen plenty of players in his mold get shoved to the sidelines early on in their NBA careers playing for bad organizations and eventually get lost somewhere along the way.