Aaron White's busy month: Baby on the way, intense NBA Draft prep
IOWA CITY, Ia. – Aaron White was scheduled to fly to California on Tuesday, a 2,000-mile next step in the former Iowa basketball star's new professional career.
Before that, he completed another demanding task Monday: filling out a baby registry.
"That was mind-numbing to me," White said, grinning. "There's so much stuff to buy for a baby."
White and his longtime girlfriend, Grace Burns, are expecting their first child in August. (It's a girl, by the way.)
But before White is surrounded by diapers and onesies, he's facing a full-court press of NBA preparation.
And it starts in Santa Barbara, where he'll get a physical assessment. In a few days, his newly hired agent will drive him to Los Angeles for nearly a month of intense workouts as he prepares for the May 12-17 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. (He hasn't been invited yet, but expects it'll happen.)
The NBA Draft is June 25.
In between everything, he'll fly back to Iowa City for his last final exam as a college student.
So, yeah, it's a wild time for the 22-year-old from Strongsville, Ohio.
"A lot of people keep asking me how I'm dealing with it," White said. "A lot of stress with: Will I get drafted? Where will I be? What state will we be in? We've got a baby coming.
"I'm just enjoying it. There's no reason to stress about it — there's nothing I can do right now except keep working out, keep getting better. I'm excited and blessed to be in the position I'm in."
White is listed at 6-foot-9, 228 pounds. He'll get official measurements at p3 (Peak Performance Project) in Santa Barbara and again in Chicago, assuming he gets the call. (He declined an invitation to the Portsmouth Invitational, where teammate Gabe Olaseni starred last week, with an eye on Chicago.)
Scouts have 140 college games of film to see what White offers. He's an effort guy who went from having one Big Ten Conference scholarship offer to becoming Iowa's No. 2 all-time leading scorer and No. 3 rebounder.
White also brings a high basketball IQ with a nose for rebounding, scoring at the rim and getting to the foul line. While his 3-point shot has improved, he knows it needs to get better.
Shooting and lateral agility on defense are high on White's L.A. to-do list.
"If I can get my lateral ability a little bit quicker, being able to guard more guys using my length, I could carve that niche," White said. "You see guys now with that size playing hard, with high motors in the NBA."
Many mock drafts have White pegged as a possible second-round pick (NBAdraft.net has him going No. 34 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers), but where he ends up will likely fluctuate between now and late June.
The next month, in particular, is crucial.
"I know I'm on radars of (NBA) teams — I know teams have been calling our coaches," White said. "I'm just excited for June, not only for the draft but for the work before it. You know how I am — I love the workouts, I love putting in the work and seeing a reward in the end."
While White has faced doubters throughout his career, the work ethic he brings was never in question.
He was first-team all-Big Ten as a senior and leaves Iowa City as one of the Hawkeyes' all-time greats.
"He's going to be in great shape," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "He's going to work out hard. He's going to be ready."