Royce White’s anxiety disorder was well known around the time of the draft and it scared a few teams off. White has the potential to be a quality point/forward in the NBA, but he also has a fear of flying as part of the disorder. He’s a big man with real ball handling skills and quickness, but that fear can paralyze him.
And it seems to have done just that — as of Wednesday he has not yet arrived at Rockets training camp, reports the Houston Chronicle.
The Rockets would not elaborate. Asked when he expected White to join the team, coach Kevin McHale said, “I have no idea.”
Rockets GM Daryl Morey went with the public statement released to the media rather than take questions.
“We are committed to Royce’s long-term success, and we will continue to support him now and going forward,” he said.
Fear of flying is less than ideal for an NBA player who spends a lot of time during the season moving around the country. But White had been out at the Rockets facilities for workouts and even joked around about it at a season ticket holder event, the Chronicle reports.
Houston brass clearly can’t be thrilled that a first-round draft pick rookie can’t be in camp, but it’s also a situation where they want to be sympathetic and help him find a way to deal with it.
A number of bloggers — including our own Matt Moore, writing over at CBS — have talked about their own anxiety disorders and how it can disrupt your life. It’s great writing that provides real insight and context to the story.
White is not a head case, he has an illness. To suggest otherwise is callous and ill-informed.
But teams knew about the disorder going into the draft, he talked about it with anyone who asked. There was a risk, this was it. All the Rockets can — and what they should — do is support him. Hopefully the Rockets end up with a quality player out of it.