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Rookie White will report to Rockets camp Monday with plan

Oct 5, 2012, 8:42 AM EDT

Kevin McHale, Royce White AP

The Rockets and rookie and Royce White have a plan.

White had missed the first week of training camp as he and the Rockets tried to hammer out a plan (a process White took the blame for not starting earlier).

That plan calls for him to ride in a rented bus (at his expense) to many of the team’s road games next season as a way to help him control the clinically diagnosed General Anxiety Disorder White suffers, which includes a fear of flying. A fear that can be paralyzing.

White praised the Rockets when speaking to the Houston Chronicle, but added part of the delay has been getting the league to sign off on the plan (it doesn’t conform to a normal contract), which is still having the details hammered out.

“We’ll go forward in a good faith deal between me and Rockets, and I’m totally comfortable with that,” said White, who has been absent from camp. “We can find a way to get it into writing at some point. We do have a letter between us. It’s an agreement, not in contract form, but those are technicalities. What the Rockets are doing is astronomically appreciated by me and should be by the mental health community.”

White sounds like someone with a real understanding of the disorder that affects him and how to control it. Part of that is sticking to a routine, something very difficult to do during an NBA season with its extensive travel. Letting White take a bus ride, sometimes of up to nine hours, let’s him sleep and more on a schedule that he thinks will help control the symptoms and panic attacks that come with the disorder.

“My health is actually great right now. I want to keep it that way. The unknown of the season or the schedule can decrease that health. We don’t need something negative to happen. A lot of guys don’t have a stance to attack mental illness on the front end. Some don’t know they have it until something happens. The negative consequences can come. It’s just too risky.”

The Rockets are doing the right thing here — they knew about the condition when they drafted White No. 16 overall. They thought they were stealing a guy with lottery talent, and they may be. Now that there is a plan in place (and there is no way the image-conscious NBA doesn’t sign off on it) maybe we can finally get a good look at what White can do on an NBA court.

  1. lakerluver - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Wow, this is one heck of a story! From what I’ve heard the kid can straight up ball. Hope it works out for him.

    • guyaneserj - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      Me too lakerluver! Has a real nice feel good factor to it!

  2. timb12 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    What happens if he ends up being terrible? This doesn’t seem like something teams would agree to for an 8th man.

    • genericcommenter - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      That’s life. I have similar issues, though my anxiety disorder is more specific ( though certainly comes with generalized issues). You have a point. At times people have been more accommodating, though sometimes I’ve been treated poorly. For an example of a specific environment: in school. My IQ is somewhere around the 98th percentile and I have a sporadic track record of high achievement. If my IQ were 110 and I had to study hard for Bs and Cs, I don’t know if people would be so understanding. At the same time, it DOES work the other way. Others can look at me and see someone who “doesn’t try” or has “never had to work hard,” whereas they might be more understanding of a struggling “average guy.”

  3. money2long - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    i heard yesterday or so on that Dan Lebartard show, lebartard gave a suggestion on how the rockets can help manage this …. drugging him before he gets on the plane, knocking him out. he did acknowledge it has its bad side in doing this because well putting drugs in your system everytime you have to fly can become addicting or even before games who knows how it will affect him, but said it can be a solution. i understand it, but i have my reservations toward that. but it can be an option.

    • gnu2308 - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      Worked for the A-Team and BA Baracus.

  4. dysraw1 - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    good kid hope things work out for the best

  5. mjeanfils - Oct 6, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    I have tickets for the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets only because I wanted to see him play in person. I hope he makes it. Wishing him nothing but the best.

  6. rubberinnertube - Oct 6, 2012 at 8:56 PM


  7. rubberinnertube - Oct 6, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    I apologize for that visceral reaction. That was rude.

  8. rocirius - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    I think knocking him out before each flight would not be an option. Being drugged to the point of unconsciousness is extremely dangerous.

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