NBA Draft 2012: Will Royce White Be a Draft Steal?

Mike B.Correspondent IMay 19, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 08:  Royce White #30 of the Iowa State Cyclones brings the ball up court during a game against the Texas Longhorns  in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament March 8, 2012 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Will Royce White turn out to be the steal of the 2012 NBA draft?

The Iowa State forward, who is expected to be a late first or possibly second-round pick in next month's draft, could eventually make teams regret passing him up.

White has some off-court issues that include an anxiety disorder and a fear of flying, which is why he likely won't be a Top 10 selection.

You can't blame teams for being concerned about his fear of flying since NBA players travel in airplanes quite frequently. However, White can certainly overcome his fear, and if he does, he'll end up proving that he's the steal of the draft.

The 6'8", 270-pounder brings a lot to the table. He can score, rebound, pass and handle the rock extremely well for a man his size. He's also athletic and has the tendency to grab a rebound and then lead the fast break.

White looked rather impressive this past season at Iowa State, averaging 13.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. In a January contest versus Texas A&M, he put together a triple-double, producing 10 points, 10 assists and an astounding 18 rebounds. 

He led the Cyclones to the NCAA tournament, where they knocked off defending champion UConn and lost to eventual champion Kentucky, which was jam-packed with future first-round picks.

Although his team was crushed by Kentucky in that game, White still put on a show, recording 23 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals in the losing effort.

He has been compared to former NBA'er Anthony Mason as well as current San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw because of his ability to play the "point forward" role.

Nothing against those two players, but White could definitely end up becoming a much better pro than both. Hey, it's possible he could end up becoming a poor man's LeBron James at some point down the road.

Since he'll likely slide in the draft, White won't get to become a starter right off the bat like future lottery picks Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson. However, if he can develop a jumper and improve his free-throw shooting, look out.

In a few years from now, White just might be a fixture in the All-Star game and a triple-double threat on a nightly basis.   

We'll have to wait and see, though.