D.J. White Prepares For NBA Dream
May 6, 2008
Bloomington, Indiana - Indiana University All-American D.J. White was set to get his diploma and begin preparing for the 2008 NBA Draft in June. He sat down with IUHoosiers.com and shared some of his thoughts as his time on the Bloomington campus concluded.
What are you doing to prepare for the NBA draft?
"I already began to prepare; me, Coach Watkinson, our strength coach and E.J., we've been doing work outs every since the season started. We took three or four days off and then started up. Worked our way up, first we started off lightly lifting just trying to get into it and running. I've been running around campus all the time, running on the football field, doing two-a-days. I've been preparing for this for awhile."
Is the Orlando pre-draft camp the first thing you go to?
"Yeah that's the first thing I go to, it's at the end of May."
And E.J.'s there too?
What do you do from here until then, where you going to train?
"I'm going to Phoenix, I leave to go to Phoenix on Monday. I'll be out there for a couple of weeks, just training, trying to get ready. I like to be away, be isolated. Especially now, during probably the biggest time of my life. It's what I've been working for all my life so I'll be out there just working out."
Why Phoenix? "It was just the place I was designated to go to work out through my agent so that's where I'm at."
Who are you going to work out with in Phoenix?
"A trainer, his name is Robert Powell. He used to be a trainer for the Phoenix Suns so I'll be out there with him."
So what's the focus of those workouts, do you have any idea yet?
"Basically, it's continuing to do what I am doing, and that's be in the best shape possible and sharpening my skills. Continue to get strong and work on the areas that he thinks I need to."
Does the influx of underclassmen declaring for the draft after you did change your thought process of where you are going to fit in?
"Not really. It's still early and a lot of people might still take their names out. With all the people declaring who are underclassmen, I still feel confident in myself that I will be right there with the best of them. I try not to look at that, I just try to do what I have to do."
Where are they giving you an idea of how you project?
"Some people say I could from 17 to 30, 17 to 35. You really don't until the end."
What kind of NBA player do you see yourself as, what are your strengths are and how you will fit in the league?
"I definitely figure to be a role player. You never know, but I don't expect to be a starter right away. Probably going to have to get adjusted to the style, but I feel I can contribute in a lot of ways. At the next level I will be a true `4" man. I've always been the only true post player and playing the `5." So I will go back to my natural position at the `4.' I won't see many doubles teams, get a lot of one-on-ones. So that will work in my favor."
What do you think about coming back for your fourth year, how did that help your game going forward to the NBA?
"A lot of areas. I improved on my rebounding this year, got stronger, got quicker. After my sophomore year heading into my junior year I didn't really get to work on my body like I wanted to. My body wasn't like what I wanted it be because of the limitations on my foot. Coming into this year, playing with team USA, I had a chance to get prepared and it showed this year. I was able to work more than I could in the past."
How tall exactly are you?
"With shoes or without?"
"Without shoes, six-eight."
Some people would say that is a little too small to play the power forward position in the NBA, what do you say to those people?
"I think I'll be fine. It's been proven that guys who aren't 6-11 or whatever, have been fine in the NBA. Look at Carlos Boozer, I stood up next to him before and I am taller than him. I'm taller than Carl Landry, look what he's doing now. I really don't think height has anything to do with it."
How important is it for you to graduate and get a degree?
"It's very important. Coming into it I didn't really think I'd be here that long, but with the injury I stayed all four years. To get my degree, that means a lot."
How about your parents?
"They are very proud of that also. My mom always tells me there are days after basketball. You can only play basketball for so long, then you have another part of your life to live. I have something to fall back on."
The goal is getting drafted, but is there a team here or there that you would like to go to, or a certain part of the country?
"Not necessarily. I don't want to answer that just in case someone hears it (laughing). No particular team, it's just been a life-long dream to be in this position of being drafted. After all I've been through over the years; foot injury, jaw surgery, different coaches, I still made it through. Now I have chance to fulfill my dream."
When was the first time some said "you could be in the NBA sometime?
"Probably when I was in the eighth grade, and I was horrible, I mean no skills. But I worked at it. My high school coach has been evaluating talent as a college coach. He said that I had it in me, so I just started working from there. He helped me along the process."
How bad were you?
"Bad. I was real bad. I just wasn't coordinated at all. It just took awhile."
How tall were you in the eighth grade?
"Six-five maybe. Grew a little bit since then."
What did you weigh?
"A hundred and something. I came here at 210, so I know I was a hundred something. One hundred and eighty-five probably."
Is it different watching the NBA Playoffs now knowing that in a year you might be playing in those?
"It's different, but I try to use it to my advantage. Trying to understand the game and look at different aspects. It's totally different from the college game, the structure, how they run plays and different things like that. That's what I am doing right now, mostly observing and trying to understand so that whenever that days comes I am not going in there not knowing what's going on."
Did you have favorite team growing up?
"Not really a favorite team. I mean, Jordan of course, everyone loved the Bulls because of Jordan. But I didn't have one particular team." What are you doing after the pre-draft camp in Orlando?: "After pre-draft camp everybody goes off, everybody has certain scheduled work outs, going from city to city. I've got a couple of back-to-back days, go from one city to the next city, that's just how it is."
What do you think about James Hardy getting drafted?
"I sitting there waiting all day for him to get drafted. You know with the NFL draft it takes ten minutes between each pick, but I stuck it out. Hardy is a good friend of mine. I was hearing that the Cowboys were trying do a trade to get him, but I guess that didn't follow through. He's in a good position now, I am happy for him."
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