After questions of his commitment lingered for a month, Andrew White decides to transfer from Nebraska
LINCOLN — After a month of behind-the-scenes uncertainty, Andrew White III, Nebraska basketball’s top returning scorer and rebounder, is expected to leave the program as a fifth-year graduate transfer.
Husker coach Tim Miles said Saturday evening that he talked to White during the day Saturday and expected another conversation on Saturday night. During that gap, Miles said, White contacted Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst to request a transfer.
Miles, with disgust in his voice, declined other comment.
The World-Herald asked Eichorst on Saturday night if White’s release would be granted, and if so, would it be a full release or restrictive of movement to certain teams?
Eichorst’s reply text: “Coach Miles will get back to you regarding Andrew’s transfer situation when he knows more.”
Neither White, who transferred to Nebraska from Kansas and played just one year, nor his father responded to multiple calls and texts. The 6-foot-7 wing was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick after averaging 16.6 points and 5.9 rebounds a game.
White entered the NBA draft this spring and stayed in until the final day (May 25), pulling out just a few hours before the deadline.
Sources close to the program said even after White withdrew, they felt uncomfortable with his commitment to returning to Nebraska following his graduation in early May. More uncertainty bubbled up periodically for the past month, even as Miles and assistant Kenya Hunter kept in communication.
Two World-Herald sources elsewhere in college basketball said they had heard AAU coaches and handlers in other parts of the country talk as if it were fact White would leave Nebraska this summer for another school.
When asked about those reports, Andrew White Jr. recently told The World-Herald:
“Those rumors aren’t coming from our camp. We’re not looking to leave. He’s sold. He’s ready to come back. He loves Nebraska and he loves the people and he loves the coaches.”
Yet the older White wouldn’t commit to guaranteeing his son would return.
Now, White III appears on track to play for a third Division I program in five years. He originally was a top-50 recruit from Richmond, Virginia. In his two years at Kansas, he played almost entirely as a backup. For Nebraska, he started all 34 games.
One possible issue for White’s departure might involve the family’s perception of Nebraska’s prospects for success.
Something that lingered from White’s conversations with NBA people was a question about why his team didn’t have a better record if he was NBA caliber. Nebraska finished 16-18 overall last season and 11th in the 14-team Big Ten at 6-12.
“Andrew desperately wants to win,” his father said. “There’s a correlation between winning and getting to the next level.”
Nebraska, in 2016-17, likely would have been picked to finish in the bottom third of the Big Ten even before White’s announcement. Now, the Huskers have an 11-scholarship roster of one senior, three juniors (one who must sit out as a transfer), four sophomores and three freshmen.
White, because he had graduated, received permission by Nebraska coaches to spend June at his parents’ home in Virginia.
All of his teammates other than senior Tai Webster and freshman Jordy Tshimanga are in Lincoln working out together. Webster is playing with the New Zealand national team. Tshimanga graduated from boarding school too late to enroll in NU’s first summer session.
In May, White worked out for the Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls. About 10 days before the draft-decision deadline, The World-Herald asked White if he was picking only between Nebraska and the NBA.
“As of right now, yes, that’s all I’ve really considered,” he said.
With the departure to graduation of White, plus second-team All-Big Ten forward Shavon Shields and guard Benny Parker, Nebraska has lost 53 percent of its scoring and 38 percent of its rebounding. The two returning starters are Webster, a combo guard, and sophomore forward Michael Jacobson.