It’s hard not to root for Royce White. Knowing he has an anxiety disorder, seeing how it affected him on draft day, it’s clear that whatever he achieves in the NBA won’t – and what he already achieved at Iowa State didn’t – come easily, and who doesn’t want to see an inspiring story of hard-won success? So when it came out that White missed the beginning of Rockets training camp due to personal issues related to his ongoing battle with his disorder, it was disappointing, but it wasn’t a shock. Again, not many things are going to happen easily for White.
And today, we got another reminder of that: White hopes to take a bus to some Rockets road games within a reasonable driving distance of Houston. White’s fear of flying, which he’s also been open about in the past, is part and parcel of his anxiety disorder, and while he often flew to road games with Iowa State, he drove occasionally as well, and this piece makes clear that sometimes, being on the road helps him cope. And White said he’d acquire the bus and assume the risks himself.
That doesn’t mean the situation wouldn’t still pose problems, however. There are a lot more games – and hence, there’s a lot more travel – in the NBA than in college. Players’ schedules are more densely packed with basketball activity – activity you’re more likely to miss if you use a slower mode of transportation. We’ll see what the Rockets – who have given White their full support as he deals with his anxiety issues and obviously think he can deal with them well enough to be a good player for them – say.
It’s all part of the process of transitioning to the NBA while dealing with ongoing personal issues – a process everyone knew wouldn’t be easy; the same process that kept White out of the beginning of training camp. Nor will that process be immediate. White didn’t immediately acclimate to the college game, either: he left Minnesota before landing at Iowa State. Over time, White and the Rockets will figure out what works for him – and what works for the team – and what doesn’t. It won’t be easy, but if White ends up playing for the Rockets like he did for Iowa State, the Rockets won’t mind one bit.
Getty photo, by Nick Laham