During Thursday’s 2008 NBA Draft, basketball’s youth movement will be on full display. In a draft class characterized by young talent, former IU forward D.J. White has the basketball experience that few other draft prospects can match.
White, who played four years for the Hoosiers and earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors his senior season, is widely regarded as a late first-round or early second-round pick by most NBA Draft analysts.
In his latest mock draft on ESPN.com, ESPN’s Chad Ford has the Portland Trail Blazers taking White with the 36th pick in the draft. Of Ford’s top 40 picks, White is one of only six players to have completed four years of college basketball.
White’s agent Jeff Wechsler said White was in Toronto this week working out for the Toronto Raptors. During June, White has also worked out for the Utah Jazz, New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons and New Orleans Hornets, among others.
After White’s workout with New Orleans, Hornets head coach Byron Scott praised White as “one of the best athletic post players to participate in the Hornets’ pre-draft workout,” according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
At 6-foot-9, White may be undersized for an NBA forward, but his long wingspan and rebounding skills could help make up for his lack of height. “White obviously has very long arms,” New Jersey Nets President Kiki Vandeweghe said after White’s workout for the Nets. “He is a big guy that plays very hard and is a good rebounder.”
White, who averaged 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game his senior season, battled injuries early in his college career. But aside from an injury-plagued sophomore year, his scoring and rebounding numbers improved each year.
Although predictions of who will draft White differ among analysts, rumors have circulated on various Web sites that the Detroit Pistons have promised to draft White with the 29th pick at the end of the first round. Wherever he lands, White, unlike most other draft hopefuls, will bring with him four years of college experience.
“D.J. was impressive,” Nets Director of Scouting Gregg Polinsky told the Nets Web site. “You can tell he’s an older guy because his focus is very good. He understands and plays with a high IQ.”
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