Colorado hoops star gets last spot on Team USA for Paris Olympics

Jul 10, 2024, 9:35 AM | Updated: 10:02 am

Derrick White of Team USA...

Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images

It’s the summer of a lifetime for Derrick White, who had a second child, became an NBA champion less than a month ago and now will become a member of the Dream Team.

According to a report, White will replace Kawhi Leonard on the team. The Los Angeles Clippers star gave it a go this week in Las Vegas at the training camp but dropped out. He’s experienced knee issues for the last several years.

Meanwhile, White Started 73 games in the regular season for the NBA’s best Boston Celtics and all 19 playoff games, 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 ring for the Celtics.

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.

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 will join to replace Leonard’s seven-time all-defensive team efforts. He joins 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.

Team USA’s first exhibition is against Canada on Wednesday in Las Vegas, they’ll play four more warmup games ahead of a July 28 date against Serbia to kick off their slate at the 2024 Olympic Games.


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