Royce White had a highlight reel of a career at Hopkins High School in Minnesota.
During his youthful career, he even capped off his senior season winning the Minnesota state championship.
When he decided to stay home and play for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, everything went sour quickly. After scandals of theft involving inconclusive evidence caused a shortened season, Royce forcefully exited the university.
He then jumped state lines into Iowa.
Iowa State has not been productive in Mens' basketball for quite some time. With a few tournament bids throughout the years, Cyclone fans finally have something and someone to cheer for.
With the inception of Fred Hoiberg's coaching career, last season produced a rough starting point for the team. An overall record of 16-16, and a conference record of 3-13, stranded the Cyclones in last place in the Big 12 conference.
Experts expected another down season this year as Hoiberg continued to experiment and build his program.
The exact opposite occurred.
A savvy coaching perspective and Royce's transfer rejuvenated a program in a tough conference pecking at notch holes in March.
During his time off, White matured and taught himself to play sweet piano music and helped form one of the best up-and-coming players in the nation.
A more mature White leads his Cyclones in five stat columns: points per game, 12.8; rebounds per game, 9.2; assists per game, 5.1; steals per games, 1.17; and blocks per game, 1.
The 6'8" power forward has a threatening skill set ready to overpower anyone who steps up.
As Iowa State heads towards the end, Coach Hoiberg has melded and formed a core around White—a deadly combination heading to the big dance.
With an overall record of 21-8, (11-5 in conference, tied for third in the Big 12) and big wins throughout the season, including topping Kansas, there is much left on the table.
If the team plays smart and runs the offense through their best player, White, they can compete with any team.
The remaining schedule before the Big 12 conference tournament contains two games against two top ten teams in the nation.
The first game occurs Wednesday night at #7 Missouri, the second on Saturday versus #10 Baylor.
Beating the Tigers of Mizzou and the Bears of Baylor can only help them. Both games will be a great test before the conference tournament and help prepare White and the Cyclones for a march on madness.