BUFFS

Report: Colorado’s Derrick White ‘replacement candidate’ for USA

Jun 14, 2024, 8:33 PM | Updated: 8:34 pm

Derrick White of Team USA...

Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images

Local hero Derrick White could use his strong season to find a way onto Team USA’s roster for this summer’s Olympics in Paris, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

White Started 73 games in the regular season for the NBA’s best Boston Celtics and all 18 playoff games thus far, making his second-straight All-Defensive Team. In the regular season, White’s numbers were up across the board, averaging 15.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1 steal and 1.2 blocks a game on 40% shooting from deep. White’s production has again risen in the postseason, capping his season with a likely ring in the coming days for the Celtics.

“I’m told that Derrick White will be a prominent replacement candidate for USA Basketball’s summer Olympic roster if the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard is not able to fully rehab back that knee injury that ended his playoff season prematurely,” Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown on Friday. “That’s certainly something USA Basketball is monitoring.”

The 32-year-old six-time All-Star, Leonard, missed the last eight games of the season and then four more in the playoffs with inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee. One of the league’s best players when healthy, he averaged 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game this season. Leonard has never played for Team USA but practiced with the squad ahead of the 2012 games.

Meanwhile, White’s wild ride to the top means he was never thought of as a top player to represent the country until recently—and that’s despite playing college ball just miles from the Olympic facility for division two University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. The overlooked prospect blossomed for the Moutain Lions before transferring to Colorado-Boulder becoming a star for the Buffaloes and entering the NBA. Unlike many of the other who grew up playing for Team USA‘s youth teams, White didn’t join the program until 2018.

White would be added to replace Leonard’s seven-time all-defensive team efforts. He would join Celtics teammates Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday on the roster headlined by LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. They will be led by Steve Kerr with Grant Hill having picked the 12 players headed to France.

White is already just one of 20 NBA players ever to be born in Colorado, one of 28 to play their high school ball in the Centennial State and one of 29 to suit up for the Buffaloes. If Leonard isn’t able to go and White is picked, he would join late Buffs stars Burdie Haldorson and Robert Jeangerard as CU-Boulder grads to represent Team USA in Men’s hoops.

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