June 25, 2015
- Read the June issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye Android app!
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Aaron White focused toward playing in the National Basketball Association in third grade. On Thursday, he fulfilled a dream.
The University of Iowa graduate was selected with the 49th pick by the Washington Wizards, becoming the 53rd Hawkeye, and the second in as many years, to be drafted.
“I broke down when I was picked and everyone else broke down,” said White, who watched the draft at a local restaurant in Strongsville, Ohio. “It was a culmination of a lot of hard work. I can’t even put it into words, it was amazing.”
Leading up to the draft, White was reminiscing with his mother, Deb, about his basketball career. His third grade declaration came up.
“(My dream to play in the NBA) wasn’t realistic until I got to college and I saw other people around me having success. My last two years I had my eyes on the NBA, and it was a realistic goal for myself.”
Aaron White, 49th selection in NBA Draft
“My mom told a story that I was late to turn in my homework in third grade and the teacher told me I had better turn in my homework on time,” said White. “That’s something that you’re going to have to work on when you’re older and looking for a job. Being on time is really important.
“In a polite way, I said, ‘I know Mr. Abbas, but I am going to be a professional basketball player, so I won’t have to do homework.’ I have had that mindset since I was a little kid.”
White did his homework at Strongsville High School and parlayed his athletics success into a scholarship with the Hawkeyes. He finished his Iowa career as one of the top players in school history, finishing with 1,859 points, 901 rebounds, and 14 doubles-doubles.
He is the only Hawkeye to ever amass 1,800 points and 900 rebounds.
“(My dream to play in the NBA) wasn’t realistic until I got to college and I saw other people around me having success,” said White. “My last two years I had my eyes on the NBA, and it was a realistic goal for myself.”
White said he had one of his best workouts for the Wizards 7-10 days before the draft, and his agent felt he would be in play for the 49th pick. Leading up to the draft, White was told there were eight picks between 40 through 60 where he could be selected, but he was one of two to three guys on the list.
“When I heard that, I wanted more of an answer, but you don’t get answers in this process until you hear (your name called),” said White. “I am thankful for Washington and the opportunity for me and my family.”
White watched the draft with friends and family, including Iowa’s coaching staff, a gesture that touched him.
“I was hesitant having a get-together because of the uncertainty and emotion of the night,” said White. “(My coaches) have been my supporters 100 percent, and it means the world to me. It shows what kind of guys they are.
“It’s not cliché, every one of them is like a father-figure to me. They’ve helped me get this far, and they’ll help me in the future, too. It means a lot that they can experience this because they are a part of my family.”
White is expected to compete for the Wizards’ in the 2015 NBA Summer League. Competition is in Orlando (July 4-10), Salt Lake City (July 6-9), and Las Vegas (July 10-20).