For a guy who didn't get any Division I offers as a high school senior, Spurs first-round draft pick Derrick White did pretty well for himself.
A 2012 graduate of Legend High School in his hometown of Parker, Colo., White played three seasons at Division II University of Colorado at Colorado Springs before capping his college career at Colorado this year.
White, a 6-foot-5 point guard, was selected by the Spurs with the 29th overall pick of the NBA draft Thursday night. The Silver and Black took Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame in the second round with the 59th selection. Blossomgame, 6-foot-7, led the Tigers in scoring each of the past three seasons.
After a day in which trade rumors involving Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and shooting guard Danny Green swirled around the franchise, Buford and his brain trust stood pat.
"The draft is what the draft is, and this was a particularly talented draft," Buford said. "So there's always all kinds of discussions going around. You never know what's real and you never know where you're going to get."
Buford was asked about one report that Aldridge had asked to be traded.
"The thing I'd say is we've got a team that's won 128 games," Buford said, referring to the number of Spurs victories since Aldridge joined the team in July 2015. "Were in the conference finals. We're happy with the group we have. If we can make it better, we'll do it at any opportunity we can.
"But it's more than just players. It's the fit for our group, and our goals for this team are to continue to compete for championships, and LaMarcus helps us do that. So, that's where we sit with LaMarcus"
White could be a good fit for the Spurs, who are looking to shore up their depth at point guard after veteran starter Tony Parker ruptured a quadriceps tendon in the second round of the playoffs.
"We're excited to get Derrick in the program," Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said. "He's a very mature guard and we're excited to have him and ready to get to work with him. Jaron Blossomgame is somebody who's had a really good career up to this point. You never know what to expect at the end of the second round."
White and Blossomgame will begin practicing with the Spurs' summer league team next week.
Buford said White is "not really a point guard, he's not really an off guard. He's a guard. He can shoot the ball. We think he can defend at a higher level than he has up to this point. When you have to do so much for the team, like he did at Colorado, he couldn't get in foul trouble. He needed his energy to score. He gets to the free-throw line. He's a good shooter."
White played only one season at Colorado after transferring from UCCS, where he was a two-time Division II All-America pick, following his junior year in 2014-15. After redshirting in 2015-16, White flourished while starting 33 of 34 games for the Buffs. White averaged 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.2 steals. He made the Pac-12 All-Conference First Team, All-Defensive Team and All-Tournament team.
"Colorado was amazing," White told the San Antonio media via telephone. "They allowed me to develop and get better each year I was there. That was huge for my draft stock."
So how does White feel about getting drafted by the Spurs?
"It's crazy to be a part of the Spurs' organization," he said. "They have a great history and Coach Pop has done an amazing job there. I just want to get there and join the Spurs' way."
At Colorado, White played for coach Tad Boyle, who was a senior basketball player at Kansas when Buford was starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant.
"We've been talking to Tad quite a bit about Derrick," Buford said.
UCCS and a junior college in Wyoming were the only two schools that offered White a scholarship when he was a high school senior. Getting overlooked by recruiters only gave White more incentive to succeed.
"It just drove me to get better," White said. "Each time you have the doubters, you just put a little chip on your shoulder. It was humbling at times. It just made me work to just continue never to be satisfied."
Buford called White's path to the NBA "an interesting story" that's reflected his determination and character while he's continued raising his level of play at different junctures in his career.
"A lot of guys might be cautious or lack confidence in stepping up to these different levels," Buford said. "He not not only stepped up, he excelled as he's moved up the food chain. He's got another big jump coming. His coach (Boyle) has coached other NBA players and he's confident that this guy belongs. Knowing Tad, trusting Tad, that had a big impact on our feelings."
The Spurs finished 61-21 last season, the second-best record in the leagued behind Golden State, and were swept by the Warriors in the Western Conference finals.
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