It's that time of the year. From DraftExpress:
D.J. White may [have] a promise from the Detroit Pistons at the end of the first round, according to sources with ties to the player. The Pistons have the 29th overall pick and may like the way White’s length and toughness fit into their team’s overall culture. They have not been shy in the past about identifying players they like early on and being aggressive pursuing them—having made a promise to draft Rodney Stuckey with the 15th overall pick right around this time last year, and reportedly also giving DeVon Hardin assurances they would select him in the late first round before he decided to return to school. They did the same exact thing with Jason Maxiell a few years back, which caused him to pull out of the NBA pre-draft camp after just one day, despite then being projected as a 2nd round pick.
White has scheduled many workouts with NBA teams for the weeks leading up to draft, which is not unusual even for players like Stuckey or Maxiell if year’s past is any indication. He will not be playing in the NBA pre-draft camp, which is a pretty good sign that he feels comfortable with where he is projected to be drafted.
(Thanks to DBB reader John for the tip!) To be completely honest, I only pay attention to college hoops during March Madness and the weeks preceding the NBA's draft, but the name DJ White did ring a bell. After hitting up Google, I realized why: our own LawyerBoy was talking up White in the comments just a couple of weeks ago:
I’d like to take a long look at D.J. White who I’ve followed religious as an IU alum since he first set foot in Assembly Hall for Indiana University. As a five-star prospect (#15 overall in 2004 for Rivals.com) I was disappointed a lot in D.J. and thought he was inconsistent for the first three years of his career. This year however, the guy absolutely blew me away. I had no faith in him for this year and he wasn’t just good this year, he was DOMINANT during a tumultuous season where he got his 3rd head coach of his IU career mid-season! He has a weird game at about 6′8 245, but he’s like Maxiell minus the freakish athleticism (read: leaping ability & explosiveness) and plus a little more offensive savvy with his back to the basket. White plays his behind off on every single play on both sides. D.J. is incredibly strong and he has a nice midrange jumper with a full compliment of post moves. He could be a useful guy in the league, he may not be.
He finally reached his potential this year -- he was a bear and real consistent. Former McDonalds All-American, averaged a double-double, was Big Ten player of the year. Skill-wise, he's a good rebounder, he's got kind of a turn around hook that he can work well but I wouldn't go so far as to call him "athletic" -- he was a bit of klutz at times. He's a high character guy, had to wade through all the bullshit with the coaching changes and whatnot. I mean, in the late first round, it's not easy to get an impact guy but you're getting a consistent hard-worker who can play in a system.
So there we go. I'm sure the Pistons will deny any talk about a promise ... just like they did last year when the same type of rumor surfaced involving Rodney Stuckey. It'll be interesting to see if this rumor gains legs.
For what it's worth, Chad Ford's latest mock draft has the Pistons taking Nathan Jawai out of Australia. If Ford eventually validates the White rumor, it'll be hard to ignore given his cozy relationship with Joe Dumars (though it'd be equally understanding if Dumars played this close to the vest in fear of losing White).
Update: DBB reader Taco John has another glowing review in the comments. Without having seen a single minute of game tape on him, you guys have me sold.