More thoughts on the Royce White situation

Via ESPN:

“What it’s going to look like is every game that’s drivable, I’m going to get a bus for myself,” White said. “And I’m going to make that bus feel like home so that there’s a level of consistency in a job where inconsistency is very apparent because of the schedule. I’m going to try and level that out and make sure that my stress levels stay low and that my rest is regular and that my meals are regular and that as much as I can, draw consistency from a very inconsistent schedule. …

I can’t really quote the whole article here without filling up the page so take a look over there for context.  But essentially, part of the treatment outlined by Royce’s doctors is that he travel by bus to those games for which that can feasibly be done.
Most of what I said the other night still applies.  The Rockets need to handle this with sensitivity.  And I still do think that exceptions need to be made (more on this later.).  But now that this has come out, a few more thoughts:
  • First, I’ve seen in some places a sentiment that Royce needs to just suck it up and deal.  This is a misinformed opinion.  Mental health issues are real and while not completely understood, should not just be swept beneath the rug.
  • Having said that, Royce should not be coming public with this.  This sort of thing needs to be kept in-house.  I understand that there might be a desire to raise an awareness for the condition.  Throwing your new team under the bus (pun intended) is not the way to do it.  If he wants to negotiate terms with the team, that’s his entitlement, but he should not be putting the media on notice.
  • Why is this just now happening?  If you read my first thoughts, you know I have nothing but sympathy for Royce in this situation.  But I had presumed, with the facts that we had had, that it was some sudden panic with the onset of camp that caused him to not report.  Now it almost seems calculated.  Why wasn’t this arrangement worked out months ago?
  • Rockets management must be seething at the moment.  We don’t know whether they sought assurance that this problem was under control.  Royce himself said on draft night that the problem was behind him.  And it didn’t seem to affect him in Summer League.
  • There are legal implications here with regards to employee disability that could make this entire thing extremely sticky.  Part of why this should have been kept in-house.
  • Anyone saying that this isn’t a big deal is fooling himself.  Yes, it could end up, hopefully, being nothing.  The treatment could gradually help ease White’s anxiety and he could go on to have a very promising career.  This also could be the beginning of the end.  We don’t know.  What we do know is the importance of NBA training camp for a 20 year old.  And we know the importance of road trips and the bonds built through that camaraderie.  This is not a good start for Royce.  He could go on to make the All-Rookie team.  At this point, though, it would not be an uneducated opinion to state that its just as likely that he wastes away his entire rookie season.  Bottom line: we don’t know what’s going to happen, but this is a very, very big deal and cause for alarm.
  • I stand by my prognosis from the other night.  Kevin McHale needs to handle this the right way.  By all accounts, Royce White was his pick.  He needs to now own up to that and deal with this.  Burying White on the bench in some idealist fit is not the way to handle this.  Yes, Royce is to blame for this.  He should have informed the team ahead of time and asked for these accommodations earlier.  This is basically a holdout.  But this was McHale’s pick.  Punish him for a few weeks if you want, but this guy cannot be chained to the bench like Marcus Morris’ rookie year.  That simply cannot be allowed to happen.  I don’t care about chemistry.  The point of this year is to develop these players.
  • In fact, if I’m Morey, I’m calling McHale into my office and saying, “Look.  This was your pick.  You talked to Hoiberg.  I don’t care if you want to win games.  My job might be on the line and I’m not going to allow you to chain the 16th pick in the draft to the bench.  I don’t care if he doesn’t know the sets.  Catch him up to speed at home.”  The point of this year is player development.  Absolutely nothing should come in the way of that end.

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  • bob schmidt says 1 YEAR ago I view White as a player without a defined or fixed position on the court. He could be our "wildcat" player inserted to cause major match-up problems for our competitors. Since we can only protect 2 players on the Viper's roster, I doubt that it would work to stick him in McAllen where all road games require a lengthy trip.

    Another factor about managing his anxiety problems is the possibility of finding a medicinal solution to the disorder. It would be hard to believe that he has already tried every possible medication that might be effective. I seriously doubt that the team or coaching staff will punish White, or that the team will respond negatively to him if he has the talent that most of us believe that he has. No question that this will be interesting to follow as the weeks go by...
  • Dan G says 1 YEAR ago

    Rahat Huq, on 08 October 2012 - 11:49 AM said:


    I don't know why I keep penciling White in as a small forward in my head. But if he's playing the 4, the most crowded spot on the team, I don't know how his camp could possibly have thought holding out the first week of training camp could be a good idea.


    I'm with you Rahat as I keep penciling White in as a small forward too. Since he has pretty good speed and excellent ball handling skills for being 6-8, I don't see why he wouldn't play backup minutes as the SF because everyone knows if PF is his only position, good luck trying to crack that rotation. I just think White has a more SF type body and Jones has the PF body among our rookies. Motie is more of a PF too but because he is 7'0" he's gonna have to play some C in order to get minutes.
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago
  • Johnny Rocket says 1 YEAR ago Martin deserves his own thread. It will be a really interesting season for him. It is a contract year, which is certainly a huge motivator, but Martin strikes me as a guy with a chip on his shoulder who loves to prove the critics wrong. I would love for Martin to have a monster year--it would be a good example for "the kids," it would increase his trade value, and it keep the Rockets competitive (though I know many here are actually don't see that as a goal this year).
  • blakecouey says 1 YEAR ago

    amacbrooks12, on 08 October 2012 - 05:34 AM said:


    JohnnyRocket :

    Very nice post , I agree completely . Dont forget Kevin Martin though because according to Rockets.com and Kevin Mchale , he has had an amazing impact and performance during training camp. On Rockets.com Mchale states that Martin has not only played well but is actually buying in to the team by playing defense , playing hard , being a leader , and giving a good veteran presence around the young guys . Looks like Kevin Martin might actually make a good mentor to Lamb after all

    Nothing like a contract year to motivate players to try their best!
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago I don't know why I keep penciling White in as a small forward in my head. But if he's playing the 4, the most crowded spot on the team, I don't know how his camp could possibly have thought holding out the first week of training camp could be a good idea.
  • amacbrooks12 says 1 YEAR ago JohnnyRocket :

    Very nice post , I agree completely . Dont forget Kevin Martin though because according to Rockets.com and Kevin Mchale , he has had an amazing impact and performance during training camp. On Rockets.com Mchale states that Martin has not only played well but is actually buying in to the team by playing defense , playing hard , being a leader , and giving a good veteran presence around the young guys . Looks like Kevin Martin might actually make a good mentor to Lamb after all
  • Johnny Rocket says 1 YEAR ago I don't think that the coaching staff will "punish" White for this, but he's lost a week of critical camp time. According to Rockets.com, Jones and Patterson had excellent first weeks. D-Mo was out most of camp with an infection of some sort, but at least he could watch. The Rockets had a lot of young talent at PF, and White is already behind. He could be the odd-man out this year simply because he's behind and there are a lot of (very hungry) guys competing for minutes.
  • Stephen says 1 YEAR ago Actually,the worst case just might be if White is really,really good but can't keep his anxiety issues in check.
    What happens if he is a top-5 talent on the court,a slick passing,rebound gobbling monster who routinely beats bigger players off the dribble.
    But his anxiety attacks render him incapable of playing for 2-3 games at a time every so often. If the Rockets face a Minn,a Portland in the Playoffs and he can't take his bus and his anxiety strikes.
    Then what?
    How does the team deal w/a player who's impressive on the court but they can never know when he'll be available?
  • Red94 says 1 YEAR ago New post: Final thoughts...for now...on the Royce White situation
  • blakecouey says 1 YEAR ago Youre definitely right Jeby. If he can't prove he's worth the hassle on the court he won't make it long in the NBA, and vice versa.
  • Jeby says 1 YEAR ago I don't think any of us should be blindsided by all this, and I wouldn't read into it as a big indicator of what will happen with Royce White's career.
    If he plays great, then the Rockets won't mind his peculiarities. If he doesn't, then he'll be out of the league. That was the moral of Dennis Rodman story. The only thing that really, truly matters in the NBA is what you bring to the court.

    (Btw it's good to be back in the forums seeing everyone's bright and smiling usernames again. Little distracted with a new job for the past couple months.)
  • Stephen says 1 YEAR ago Somebody can hold a grudge...
    "I hope Royce White gets help w/ his condition. Seems like a huge talent. But some1 is gonna get fired in org 4 giving the go ahead. IMO"
    https://twitter.com/Hoya2aPacer

    Guess we now know why Rockets didn't make much of an effort going after Hibbert in FA :)
  • tombrokeoff says 1 YEAR ago good points, ST
  • Sir Thursday says 1 YEAR ago I can well understand why he is more freaked out about the NBA schedule than he ever was for college. In college you play, what, once or twice per week? There's enough time between games for you to get home and get back to your routine. NBA...that's not really an option. 3-4 games a week means that you're constantly on the road, and never get consistent practices or anything like that.

    Everything I've read seems to indicate that White craves routine in order to handle his condition. Hopefully once he has played in the NBA for a season or two, he will have a pre-game routine in place and feel more comfortable in the surroundings of the NBA. And once he's got that, fingers crossed that he'll be able to to turn his mind to playing basketball.

    ST
  • blakecouey says 1 YEAR ago It'd be such a horrible pr move for them to reject it that they don't really have a choice. Not to mention I'm sure it falls under the American Disabilities Act and could cause the league legal issues.
  • tombrokeoff says 1 YEAR ago uhhhh this sucks. i mean i feel the worst for him, but this sucks for the organization and the fans as well and unfortunately is fairly difficult to empathize with. i hope the league approves and this all works.
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago Its been reported that the Rockets and white have reached a agreement where Royce will take a bus to some games and fly to the rest. Waiting for the leagues approval before he goes down to mcallen.

    http://wap.myfoxhouston.com/w/main/story/74790151/
  • blakecouey says 1 YEAR ago He has flown, but he mentioned the 91 flights he'd have to take throughout the season would be too much.
    A possibility for long distance road trips is for him to fly to the first destination, and if the next games are somewhat nearby(like the Sac/GS/LA trip Stephen mentioned) the bus can meet him after the first flight when it arrives. If Royce isn't on the bus it can leave early/arrive whenever to meet him at the location. This could cut down significantly on the amount of flights he must take.
    I have made the Houston to OKC trip in 5hours and 30minutes before, of course I'd imagine his bus wouldn't be going quite that quickly. Usual trip(following speed limits, etc) is a relatively easy 7.5-8hour drive with several stops. I also would assume it is more like an RV than a charter bus, thus allowing him to sleep and function as normal(or close to it).
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago In the ESPN interview he says he realized he is going to have to fly 4x as much in the NBA than he did in college, that's what's freaking him out
  • tombrokeoff says 1 YEAR ago ok just a refresher please....someone help me here. he flew to vegas, right? and he flew to games in college?
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago Someone needs to drive him to mcallen......
  • Stephen says 1 YEAR ago Dallas,San Antonio easy. New Orleans likely,OKC,maybe not.
    Other than those the only short trips on tap are a West Coast swing in Feb from Sac to San Fran to La. Everything else looks to be close to 400 miles or more.

    This is bad.
    How is the rest of the team going to react to special treatment?
    Major can of worms being opened here and only hope is after a few flights he can accept flying regularly.
    Bigger red flag is he was able to handle flying w/his college team until the Final Four where the pressure to perform was huge and at that point he had to drive down.
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago There is a video interview with Royce up on ESPN now, seems like they really waited till the last minute to work all this out.
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago There is a video interview with Royce up on ESPN now, seems like they really waited till the last minute to work all this out.
  • blakecouey says 1 YEAR ago I really hope I'm wrong, but the more I see Royce White tweet about the subject the more it feels like a publicity stunt. Im not saying he's faked or exaggerated anything, but at some point he's got to stop talking about it and begin his career. That said, I've seen some horrible things wrote to him on Twitter, and it's good to see him doing the "right thing" by not firing back at the haters. I certainly hope the uninformed children that feel the need to spread hatred to him over the issue get the hint that they aren't affecting him.

    Hopefully the bus will be a short term solution, and he can work through the anxiety of flight before it causes career issues.
  • Red94 says 1 YEAR ago New post: More thoughts on the Royce White situation
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago i havnt been able to find it anywhere
  • blakecouey says 1 YEAR ago Anybody have a link on the NBA travel policy?
  • Kade says 1 YEAR ago This kind of stuff can only happen to the Rockets. This is a serious issue and anyone who knows someone who can't fly knows there's nothing you can do about it unless they are either knocked out or heavily medicated.
    What troubles me is that Morey I guess didn't see this as an issue as if people who are deathly afraid of flying will suddenly have no issue with it if Morey tells them so. Go look at John Madden as prime example.

    Looks like the only option is for him to play all home games and any games that a bus will get him there.
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago I just read that ESPN article. This is shaping up to be very bad.

    • Basic geography - there aren't many road games he can get to in time by taking a bus...
    • NBA travel policy
    • among other concerns
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago LMAOwais: I agree 100% with those thoughts. Both parties should have anticipated this and implemented a plan. Though, now that it's already happened, my hope is that the Rockets, particularly McHale, is lenient. My guess is that he won't be.
  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago I like the idea of sending him to the Vipers for reasons pertaining to White as well as the team chemistry and bringing him up for a few homestands or short trips he may be comfortable with later on. I do agree this should have been taken care of ahead of time and hopefully this jumpstarts efforts from both sides to have a plan in place.

    Yes Rahat his nickname was Never Nervous as in Pervis Never Nervous Ellison I believe and he was pretty good in college.
  • LMAOwais says 1 YEAR ago http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/8459655/royce-white-absent-houston-rockets-cites-mental-health

    Quote:

    "It has been determined that without a specific plan in place, the current workplace is not healthy for me. I feel that it is essential to formulate the right plan for a better chance of execution, despite other timelines or agendas. The most important agenda to me is a plan that is healthy. Therefore, a plan has been requested that will support a healthy work environment. In addition to this, it has been requested that the standard requirements for players in regards to this plan be voided because it is not a standard situation

    .

    If we're to consider this whole situation a problem I think there is blame for both sides. Royce knew what he was going into as did the Rockets organization. I figure both Royce and Rockets front office should have been hatching a specific plan of care regarding Royce much sooner then on media day. Not saying bumps in the road aren't expected, but this was not Royce having a panic/anxiety attack, but not having any support system in place in case he did. They should both have been working together far earlier to make sure this was less likely to happen.

    All that said, I hope Royce can find a system that works for him and soon enough so that his development isn't hindered too much. I'm just so giddy with anticipation for his and the youth movement potential.
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago wasn't his nickname "never nervous pervis"?
  • paper says 1 YEAR ago for me, the comparison would not be Eddie Griffin but Pervis Ellison - a player who sporadically showed what he could do, but never got over missing games his first year with the Kings due to injuries, and then being traded the next year. I only saw him in person at the end of his career with the Celtics when he was playing bench minutes, but he looked like his emotions and focus were barely under control. His talent occasionally put him in positions where he could make a play, but he was usually trailing the action which only seemed to make him wilder.

    from what I've read of his year at Iowa State, he stepped into a situation with a very supportive coach and a tight-knit community that embraced him. I like to think the Rockets will provide as much support as they can (if Yao had his own interpreter, why can't Royce have his own counselor?), but the NBA is not set up for a lot hands-on attention, especially when it's already spread thin this year with the rookies. I would say the Vipers are his best bet, but unlike the Morris situation it would not be because of his skills, but to get him back in a small-town atmosphere where he can receive more attention. Maybe later he can be eased into the big show.
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago

    Rahat Huq, on 03 October 2012 - 18:20 PM said:


    sircharles: I don't think the concern should be chemistry. the concern should be the career of the #16 pick in the draft. i think you do whatever it takes to help him, even if it means sacrificing games.


    it just seems like it wouldnt help him or his teammates if he was to miss that many games
  • tombrokeoff says 1 YEAR ago

    Rahat Huq, on 03 October 2012 - 18:20 PM said:


    sircharles: I don't think the concern should be chemistry. the concern should be the career of the #16 pick in the draft. i think you do whatever it takes to help him, even if it means sacrificing games.


    we'll be lucky to be challenging for a playoff spot, so this whole season is about the future. from individual players to the team as a whole .. so yeah i dont see how it would matter to sacrifice some games over this.
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago sircharles: I don't think the concern should be chemistry. the concern should be the career of the #16 pick in the draft. i think you do whatever it takes to help him, even if it means sacrificing games.
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago i feel like only playing him at home wouldnt even be a option, you cant build chemistry with that.
  • ale11 says 1 YEAR ago It's not something easy to deal with. A good option during the season would be to play him only at home and not make him travel until he gets those sort of things in order, but it's true that lacking training camp will make him fall behind the rest of the pack and probably that would make him even more anxious. He is a smart kid, let's hope he figures it out because the person always comes first
  • Stephen says 1 YEAR ago A while back Rahat asked if Morey was going to play it safe or was still willing to gamble on players w/talent and question marks.
    Question answered.
  • tombrokeoff says 1 YEAR ago im just surprised everything was fine and dandy during SL action but now training camp and this? strange. i cant say that i can even begin to understand his condition though.
  • inpropagation says 1 YEAR ago Life's a zero sum game, and anxiety or not, this kid's about to learn that the hard way... ouch.

    Sucks... was hoping this guy would get in the rotation and make a badass pass or two in the regular season. He can still do that, but depending on how much time he misses I think he could be in tha doghouse for a while. Or maybe I'm just getting ahead of myself... I really liked this pick.
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago Hopefully its first day of camp jitters. He needs to smoke some herb it sounds like
  • Johnny Rocket says 1 YEAR ago Not good-- this could become a vicious circle; anxiety causes him to miss training camp, which then causes more anxiety as he falls behind his peers. It could be a lost year--I like Blake's verb "Morris'ed."
  • blakecouey says 1 YEAR ago Aggravating, but he's right, if he can't be mentally healthy he's more of a hindrance than helpful at this point. Hopefully he can get the anxiety issues worked out and be back at it before he gets Morris'ed for the year.
  • tombrokeoff says 1 YEAR ago man i hope this gets resolved quickly and isnt a constant, reoccuring issue.