HoopsHype.com Interviews

James White: "I think I'm a first-round guy"
by Jorge Sierra / May 22, 2006

This is your second year going through the workouts and all the draft process. How much did going through that experience help you during your last season in college?

James White: That helped me a lot. Last year when I declared I only had two workouts. I had one with the Knicks and one with the Chicago Bulls. But even those two helped me a lot just going through all those drills and knowing how hard I had to work and knowing what it takes. All that prepared me for this year and for the season with Cincinnati. That really got me ready.

How much more ready for the NBA do you feel this year compared to last year?

JW: A lot more ready. Maybe 80 percent more ready because I've worked harder than ever. I learned that I had to work real hard to get really prepared. I have a lot of friends at the NBA level and they tell me this process is all about hard work.

How would you rate your last season at Cincinnati?

JW: I think I had a very good year. I started off very well and I feel I was more consistent. I just tried to stay consistent and do the things that allow me to have a good game. I have a couple of setbacks with injuries and things like that. But I think I had a very good year.

Being suspended for the last games of the season with your team... Did that leave you with a bitter taste about the whole experience at Cincinnati?

JW: Definitely. But because of that, I learned a lesson: 'You have to take care of your business'. That really taught me a lesson. I didn't do all the things I had to do academic-side. Even though that situation was bad for me, I think it helped me because I learned something from it.

Things are apparently going well for you in workouts, right?

JW: Yes, things are going well. So far, I have to say that, yeah, things are going pretty well.

Are you showing anything in those workouts that NBA teams hadn't seen before?

JW: I think there was something out there about me that I was just a good athlete. But I think I shoot the ball better than I'm given credit for. I've worked a lot on that. I think I shot the ball better this season in college. Right now, my game is pretty well rounded and I think I've surprised people a little bit with that.

Have you made a decision about going to the pre-draft camp in Orlando or not?

JW: Right now, I'm not sure yet. I gotta be consistent in the workouts and then we'll see. So far... I don't know.

What's the strangest question you've been asked in the interviews with NBA teams?

JW: Most of the questions are about why I transferred from Florida to Cincinnati. Or maybe about how I adjusted to playing under Bob Huggins. And questions to get to know you... Personality-wise. You know, that type of questions. You get a lot of character questions.

What do you think will be your natural position in the NBA?

JW: I think my natural position will be the two, but hopefully I'll get a chance at the one. And if I get stronger, maybe I can play the three more. But mostly, I think it will be the two.

You apparently have a lot problems gaining weight. Do you think strength (or the lack of it) may be an issue for you in the NBA?

JW: I don't think it will be much of an issue. I can't gain a lot of weight... But for my size, I think I'm a pretty strong guy. I don't think it will be an issue. I just have to play with the way I am and I'll be getting stronger every year. I just have to roll with the body I got and play. And I don't think weight or strength will be an issue.

What would you say to all those people who think James White is just a dunker, just a guy that jumps a lot?

JW: I think I'm one of the most versatile players in the draft. I'm an all-around player, a guy that can do a lot of different things. I'm a guy who takes pride on his defense most of all. I think that's my game.

Do you feel you have a good chance to go in the first round? And if you're not selected in the first round, would you be disappointed about it?

JW: I'd probably be disappointed if I don't go in the first round. I think I have a good chance to go in the first round. But, you know, if there's anything I can do to increase my stock, I'm going to do it. I mean, I just got to do my best in the workouts. And if I match up with guys that are in the first round, I have to outperform them. I think I'm a first-round guy. I think I belong in the first round. But overall, you know, I just want to be in the league. And once I'm in the league, hopefully stay there. Just make the best of my opportunity.

Did you ever consider making a living as a track and field athlete instead of as a basketball player?

JW: I did consider that. That's something I still consider. Not just long jump, but also 200 (meters)... Maybe high jump. But that's down the road. Basketball is the game I love and track and field is just a thing on the side because I'm really good at it and I enjoy it. But basketball is the game I love... Maybe when my future is set in the NBA... Maybe then I can try my hand on that.

Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com

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