Former Pistons guard Terrico White is ready to prove he belongs in the NBA

Photo: Flickr | Mark Dries /

The second round of the NBA Draft is largely hit or miss. For every Gilbert Arenas, Carlos Boozer and Manu Ginobili, there are 50 players who go unnoticed and never play a single minute in the big league.

Terrico White, selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 36th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, is hoping to avoid the unknowns group in second round NBA lore, and he will get his chance after signing a training camp deal with the Phoenix Suns this offseason.

“With my case, I didn’t really have a chance to play in an NBA game. I played one preseason game my rookie year and I got hurt like two minutes into the game.”

It was 2010 when White broke his foot in a preseason game, forcing him to miss his entire rookie year. The next season, he signed with New Orleans only to be waived about a week later. Since 2011, he’s run the gamut in terms of professional hoops with stints in the D-League, Serbia, Israel, Turkey and Russia.

Coming out of Ole Miss, Terrico was known as an extraordinary athlete, a slasher and a better-than-average defender. Now, at 25 years old with five seasons of pro ball under his belt, White says he has made improvements. “The past three years specifically I’ve really improved my game,” he said. “There isn’t much for me to do over there so I just worked hard whenever I could.”

The international game — specifically in Europe — is much more physical and methodical, something it took White a while to get accustomed to. “Football was my first love, so I’m used to being physical. I had to work on my jumpshot a whole lot because bigs [in Europe] just clog the paint. I also focused on ball handling so I can be a better playmaker on the offensive end.”

All of the hard work, patience, struggle and sacrifice will pay off for White with a strong showing in the Suns’ training camp. With 13 players already on the roster for next season, he will be battling with Cory Jefferson, Deonte Burton, Kyle Casey and Henry Sims for one of two open spots.

White was frank in his desire to be in the NBA this year, telling U&M: “I just want to land on an NBA roster, man. If that’s in Phoenix great, if not then I hope another team takes notice because I’m ready. International ball is great, but I want to play with and against the best in the world. I’m only 25 and to be honest, my athleticism has improved since I was drafted. I’m ready.”

At 6-5, White brings a unique set of skills (watch out, Liam Neeson!) to the table. He handles the ball well, shoots consistently from outside and gets after it defensively. When I watch his clips from overseas, I think of a young Wes Matthews — gritty and willing to get after it to make plays. While Matthews has developed into one of the top outside threats in the NBA, he wasn’t always a sharpshooter. White has time to develop, and the key will be blending his skills to comprise an NBA player.

Players don’t want to think about failing, but when asked what he would do if an NBA roster spot didn’t happen this year, White was earnest. “You know what, the D-League is a strong option for me,” he said. “I would like to stay home and play ball and if the right opportunity opened up in the D-League, then I might stay here for a chance at a call-up. If not, then I’ll look to land somewhere overseas and continue to improve and wait patiently for my chance in the league.”

White remains optimistic about his chances, and it’s clear when talking to him that he’s a confident man who knows what he can bring to an NBA franchise.