Local product is forced to go D-II route, becomes a dominant force, and eventually earns a scholarship to play for the flagship Division-I University in his home state… The story basically writes itself.
A press release from the University of Colorado athletic department made it official on Sunday. Derrick White, the former University of Colorado - Colorado Springs star, and Division-II All-American, is a Buff.
“I was talking to my family and friends, and we all believed that it is going to be best for me, and it’s going to make me the best possible player that I can be,” White told BSNDenver. “It gives me the opportunity to play in the Pac-12 against some of the best players in the country.”
But while he has now fulfilled his dreams of becoming a Division-I basketball player, the 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard, feels he still has some doubters to silence.
“I still feel like there are people who don’t think I can play at the Division-I level, or don’t know how good I’ll be there,” he explained. “So I still have a lot to prove.”
Doubters will be doubters, but on his way to 26 points, seven rebounds, and five assists per game, DII All-America honors, and countless school records, Derrick has picked up his fair share of believers.
Former Colorado Basketball player, Trey Eckloff “I was playing pick up basketball with him last summer, and almost everyone in the gym was or is a college or pro basketball player, Derrick was simply dominating the games. His athleticism and ability to jump, run the floor, and dunk over guys was jaw dropping. His jumping ability reminded me of Andre Roberson. And usually guys who are freak athletes like that lack other fundamentals but his guard skills like ball handling, passing, and shooting were solid.”
Former RMAC opponent and Western State guard, Travis Shepherd “The coolest thing about Derrick is how much he has improved. I played him when he was a freshman, and you could tell he was a solid player and had a lot of potential. But that next year I think his game took a crazy leap to the point where he was the best player every time he stepped on the floor, as a sophomore. So that just shows you how hard of a worker he is, that doesn't just happen on accident. I played him in a Colorado Springs tournament last summer and physically he has all the tools. Best part of his game is his athleticism....the ability to get to where he wants and then either rise up and shoot over you or get to the rim and make an acrobatic finish. There is no doubt in my mind he can contribute something at the next level.”
Opposing RMAC Coach “In all honesty, Derrick White was one of the most dominant Division-II basketball players I have ever seen. Night in and night out he would torment opposing defenses scoring in just about every way you could think of. Teams would know exactly what he was going to do and they still couldn't stop him. I think the Buffs will greatly benefit having him on their roster. He's definitely a very special player.”
That is just a small sample of those who now believe in Derrick White, but he still has a large transition to overcome.
“Probably the physicality,” he said of his greatest upcoming challenge. “The physicality is probably way different from the RMAC to the Pac-12, that will be a big adjustment for me, as well as guarding top level players.”
While he obviously wishes he could play right away, White knows the year he will have to sit out, due to NCAA transfer rules, will help him with that challenge.
“I can learn the Pac-12 speed, and what I need to do to be successful in this conference,” he told. “It’s going to be a big jump from Division-II to Division-I, but this will give me time to become a better player, get bigger and stronger in the weight room, and learn all I can.”
An easier transition for the Legend High School product will be joining the Buffaloes in the locker room.
“I’ve known pretty much all of the Colorado guys on the team, just from playing against them for many years,” he explained.
The Buffaloes new addition means they will have five scholarship players on the roster from the Centennial state (White, Scott, Gordon, Collier, Talton).
“It’s exciting because Colorado it not usually known for being a basketball state,” admitted White. “But basketball in Colorado is continuing to improve. We are out here to prove that there are good basketball players in this state.”
Finally, the newest Buff wanted Colorado fans to know what they are getting in Derrick White.
“Know that I’m going to work hard every day, try to become the best player I can be, and bring the most wins I can possibly help bring to the Coors Events Center,” he said.
Local product is forced to go D-II route, becomes a dominant force, and eventually earns a scholarship to play for the flagship Division-I University in his home state… What comes next will be the difference between a good story and a great story.