All Derrick White needs is a chance to prove himself. Once he has it, he has no problem showing just how talented he is.
That was the case when he played at Legend High School. The theory held through his time at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and certainly in his final year of college where he shined for the CU Buffs.
And in his young professional career, White continues to take advantage of every opportunity he's been afforded. At this rate, he could into something that is rare for Colorado kids. He could become an NBA star.
“I just have to take every opportunity and make the most of it, whether its in the G-League or wherever," White said. "I have to get better and learn down there and be a better player.”
White was selected with the 29th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He was scooped up by the San Antonio Spurs, giving fans of his from Legend, Colorado Springs and Boulder reason to be optimistic about his future.
After all, if Spurs coach Gregg Popovich saw something in White, there is reason to believe he had the chance to be something special. After all, if anyone in the league can get White's development to stay on track it would be Popovich.
"There is no doubt in my mind," Legend basketball coach Kevin Boley said. "I got called during the draft process and talked to seven or eight different GMs. I talked to a handful of personnel people and they all asked the same question."
Is White going to continue to get better?
If the infancy of his professional career is any indication, he is going to remain on track.
White was limited to just 17 games with the Spurs in his rookie season. He averaged just 3.2 points per game and scored a season-high 14 in a loss to Houston on Mar. 12.
Just like he had experienced when he made the jump from high school to college, he understood there's an adjustment to the professional game.
“Everybody is a little bigger and a little faster and a little stronger," White said. "You have to find different ways to get your shot off and get into your spots. It takes some getting used to because everybody is a little longer than the guys you’re used to playing against.”
Eventually White was sent to the Austin Spurs in the G-League where he began getting used to things. In 24 games, he scored an average of 20 points. He helped the Spurs advance to the G-League championship series where they swept the Raptors 905.
White then returned to San Antonio and played with the Spurs in their playoff series loss to the Golden State Warriors.
And then he went into the NBA's summer league where his development continued. He led the Utah summer league with 23 points per game and judging from his past and the thoughts of Boley, this is going to be a pivotal point in his professional career.
"I knew when he got in the gym with the professional guys, I knew he would get better," Boley said. "Then he went to the G-League and played well so he gained some confidence. And you can see know when you look at pictures, he's so much thicker and so much stronger."
More importantly, he continues to get better. Throughout his development, whether it was through high school or college, he has done nothing but continue to get bigger and better.
Through his entire journey, he's learned that chances will always come along. It's the way that they're prepared for that will make the difference for those trying to get to the next level.
“Be ready for your opportunity when it comes," White advises. "Get ready, stay ready and have confidence in yourself. The more confidence you have in yourself, the better you’ll play and the more fun you’ll have.”
And for a kid from Parker who has done nothing to but reach new levels with every chance he's been given, he looks like he's having a lot of fun.