Can Royce Roll In The NBA? Rockets Suspend Rookie Forward

Regular readers of these pages; will clearly remember previously seeing the following phrase; The NBA Draft is an inexact science at best. Every year in late June; the NBA selects 30 young men in the first round of the draft; with the odds that they will still be playing in the Association five years later; stacked clearly against them. The reasons for their failures, can be that their skill-set doesn’t transfer to the pros; or perhaps a personality clash with management of the team that drafted them.

Former number one draft pick Greg Oden’s career is in limbo, as his body has yet to be strong enough to withstand the rigors of an 82-game schedule, without breaking down. It’s not the big man’s fault; he has tried his best to fulfill the potential seen in him when the Blazers chose him over Kevin Durant in 2007, however his body has yet to cooperate.

Although physical ailments and injuries, are far easier to detect; mental illness can be just as and sometimes more debilitating to an NBA player’s career. While some athletes inner-demons are self-inflicted; by abusing drugs, alcohol, or over-indulging to excess in some area; there are many whose brains work a bit differently, than what we refer to as “the norm”. Through no fault of their own; there are some whose issues are so overwhelming; that it stops their NBA career as effectively as a brick wall. It is starting to seem more and more likely; that could end up being the fate of Houston Rockets forward Royce White, as his issues overcoming anxiety problems, have landed him in deep, hot water.

The “Houston Chronicle,” reported Sunday that the Rockets have indefinitely suspended their first round selection from last June, ostensibly because he refused to go play for the club’s D-League franchise, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Houston General Manager Daryl Morey, released a statement explaining why the team suspended White indefinitely. Morley wrote “The Houston Rockets have suspended Royce White effective immediately for refusing to provide services as required by his Uniform Player Contract. We will continue to work with Royce to hopefully come to a resolution.”

The suspension is just the latest chapter, of how the Rockets, White and his agent Andrew Vye, have failed to agree on how to deal with the anxiety disorder, that has kept the forward from playing for the squad this season. At first it seemed as if the team and the forward were going to work their differences out. White has a fear of flying; so Houston provided an RV and paid drivers to take the rookie to out-of-town contests.

With that problem rectified, the 21-year-old former Iowa State player, he would leave the team in mid-November, allegedly because the Rockets refused to follow doctors suggestions that would provide the rookie with a safe and secure work-place. White took to his “Twitter” account on Sunday to explain his side of the story. He tweeted “Threat, Fines, Suspension won’t deter me. won’t accept illogical health decisions, I will keep asking for safety & health. Again the @HoustonRockets management has gone against what THEIR OWN docs have declared & their own words. Not refusing #DLeague I’m refusing to work, AT ALL, until a protocol is put in that ensures#safety. Doctors should make medical decisions.”

The paper also wrote that in an interview on Sirius/XM, White said that if he failed play in the Association, he would not be surprised. The way things have turned out so far, odds are pretty good that scenario could become a reality.

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