In former Cincinnati forward James White, the Knicks are getting an athletic “freak” with limited shooting ability who can also defend and handle the ball, two of his former coaches told SNY.tv.
White is set to sign a guaranteed contract with New York, according to a report on Sportando Basket.
“I tell you what, off of one foot on the run, he jumps higher than anybody in the league,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, who coached White at Cincinnati, told SNY.tv by phone. “Phenomenal leaper off of one foot. He would win the NBA Dunk Contest.”
Louisville assistant Kevin Keatts coached White, who turn 30 in October and is nicknamed “Flight,” at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, where he was a McDonald’s All-American.
“At Hargrave, I had a bunch of great players, but he is by far the most athletic kid I’ve ever coached,” Keatts told SNY.tv. “I mean, he’s a freak of nature as far as his athletic ability.”
White has played in Italy over the last two seasons with Dinamo Sassari and VL Pesaro.
After leading Serie A in 2010-11 at 20.2 points per game, he averaged 17.1 points last season.
White has played 10 total NBA games with the Spurs and Rockets.
With the potential departure of second-year guard Iman Shumpert in a potential sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns for Steve Nash, White could add some much needed perimeter defense.
“He’s a 6-7 guy who can really defend,” Huggins said. “He can defend, he can pass, I played him at point guard.”
Said Keatts: “He’s a big guard who can handle the ball, rebound his position. He brings to the table is his ability to handle the ball. He’s a great defender. He’s one of those guys that can play a two or three spot for those guys.”
A native of Kensington (Md.), he was a McDonald’s All-American at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy before going to Florida, where he was a teammate of former Knick David Lee.
He transferred to Cincinnati and led the Bearcats in scoring at 15.9 points per game in 2005-6.
“He can make open shots,” Huggins said. “He’s a great team guy, he’s a great team player.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.