By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Royce White only played one year of college basketball, but it was memorable, taking Iowa State to the NCAA Tournament in 2012.

“We weren’t picked to do much that year, and I had a pretty good season, and it was the start of the Fred Hoiberg era,” White said.

A first-round pick of the Houston Rockets, White’s NBA career fizzled, in part, because he was dealing with his own mental illness and anxiety — which he was outspoken about it.

“What I wanted was for mental health to be acknowledged as the priority that it should be,” White said. “I wanted mental health to have the policy that it should have and be recognized as a core component of overall health.”

(credit: CBS)

On this day, he tries to take me out in a game of W-C-C-O, but taking it out is what I want to do to him. Basketball is now White’s second sport. He’s now training to fight in the MMA. It’s a new challenge, and he’s hoping for a match by fall.

“Purest form of competition there is, physically,” Royce said. “I will get hurt. I will get hurt, but that’s something I’m willing to do.”

Maybe that’s why his game is a touch off. But it’s also a day to reflect on his time in the NCAA Tournament, when he went into Kentucky and made a statement – that he was the best.

“They had 17,000 Kentucky fans in there, and you know, I let them know that I was the best player in the country,” White said. “It was true. Still true.”

Mike Max