By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal
Terrico White gets his first taste of the NBA life today, as the former Ole Miss guard is introduced at a news conference in Detroit.
The 6-foot-5 White, who left school after his sophomore season, was the 36th overall selection by the Pistons in Thursday’s NBA Draft. He’s the first Rebels player drafted since Justin Reed was taken in the second round by Boston in 2004.
Also in the second round on Thursday, Mississippi State forward Jarvis Varnado was taken by the Miami Heat with the 41st pick and former Starkville High standout Latavious Williams was taken 48th, also by Miami.
After the draft, Williams – who played last season in the NBA Development League – was sent to Oklahoma City for a future second-round draft pick.
In day-after analysis, ESPN.com gave Detroit an A-minus for its selections of Georgetown center Greg Monroe seventh overall and the Rebels’ White in the second round.
After a 27-win season, aging Detroit center Ben Wallace may retire, so Monroe will garner the lion’s share of attention. And while first-round picks such as Monroe get guaranteed multi-year contracts, White will have to battle to make the Pistons’ roster.
White will be trying to fit in as a backup for incumbent point guard Rodney Stuckey and shooting guard Richard Hamilton
“He’s a guy who can play both guard positions,” Pistons VP of basketball operations Scott Perry told reporters on Thursday night. “He was one of the most athletic guys at the combine. He was a guy viewed by many as going late in the first round.”
But there are questions about White after a sophomore season in which White averaged 15.1 points per game. Scouts were unimpressed by his consistency as a shooter (43 percent from the field as a sophomore) and worries about his overall game-to-game effort.
“If he had a better motor, he would’ve gone much, much higher,” said ESPN.com draft analyst Chad Ford.
Miami, meanwhile, was delighted to find Varnado still on the draft board. “I love Jarvis Varnado,” Heat president Pat Riley told reporters on Thursday night. “We feel like we drafted three first-round picks in the second round.”
Of 55 early entry players, 37 were drafted on Thursday. Among those passed over: Arkansas sophomore guard Courtney Favors and Vanderbilt junior center A.J. Ogilvy.
Contact John L. Pitts at 678-1522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.