Notable NBA names fit Aaron White's pro blueprint

Chad Leistikow

As part of a workout last week with the San Antonio Spurs, Aaron White filled out a questionnaire that asked which NBA players he compared himself to.

The former Iowa basketball star wrote two names: Chandler Parsons and Andrei Kirilenko.

"Guys that are my size, obviously versatile guys," White said. "They know the game well and know how to help their team win."

The ultimate showcase for White to prove that his blue-collar, high-IQ game translates to the NBA begins Tuesday in Chicago. The 6-foot-9 forward is the only college player from Iowa among the 62 invitees to the prestigious NBA Scouting Combine, which runs through Sunday. On-court action runs Thursday and Friday.

"The process I'm going through right now is something I've been praying about, thinking about, dreaming about since I was a kid," said White, who is No. 2 all-time at Iowa in career points (1,859) and third in rebounds (902). "Every offseason, I follow this process through other guys."

In Parsons, a fourth-year pro who averaged 15.7 points and 4.9 rebounds last season with the Dallas Mavericks, White couldn't have picked a better NBA blueprint.

White enjoyed a productive four-year college career, just as Parsons did at Florida. Parsons is listed at 6-9, 227 pounds (one pound lighter than White, who will get official measurements this week) and in the 2011 NBA Draft was chosen in the second round — where many mocks have White going June 25.

Perhaps the most important part of this week's combine for second-round prospects such as White is the team interviews. And that's an area where White should excel. It's well-documented that White's infectious work ethic was credited in transforming the Iowa basketball program from dormant to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments.

Where White has room for the most growth is defending wing players and shooting corner 3-pointers. He spent most of the last month working out two or three times a day in a California performance center. While in San Antonio, he got validation his outside shot was improving.

"Some of the guys I worked out with said we didn't know you could shoot the ball like that, because I didn't do it in college (61 career 3s)," White said. "I'm shooting the ball well."

In addition to specialized drills at the combine, there will be five-on-five play that caters to White's strengths of running the floor, making the extra pass and getting to the foul line.

White returned to Iowa City for his last final exam Monday before heading to Chicago, where he is intent on staying true to his game in what can become an individualized spectacle.

"I've been through different camps and different workouts. You see guys make themselves look bad, just trying to get theirs," White said. "You can almost look good by making the extra pass. You look good, you're unselfish and you know the game — rather than trying to do something you can't do."