As you have likely heard by now, the one and only Royce White has signed on to play at Iowa State. I feel as if this deserves my full attention, but whether it's because I have a headache not un-reminiscent of the time I got stabbed with a trident in my brain or because I am kind of sick of devoting my energies to thinking about Rocye, I'm having trouble mustering up enough effort to care. From a Gopher point of few, my reaction is a shrug. A more interesting way to look at it is from the Iowa State point of view.
I do think it's a pretty good signing for the Cyclones. Their program is currently in shambles, with each coach (Eustacy, Morgan, and McDermott) seemingly making no progress at best, taking a step back and running off players at worst, and could use this kind of boost if things work out.
Hiring Fred Hoiberg as the new head coach showed the A.D. is willing to gamble. Hoiberg has no coaching experience, but he is a big name, both in Ames and nationally, which should help with recruiting, and his NBA connections will be attractive to big-time players with professional aspirations. Enter Royce White.
There is no doubting his talent, despite mixed reports from the Howard Pulley games. White was a 5-star, heavily recruited star coming out of high school, and even if a year off has allowed some rust to show, by the time he's eligible to play for ISU he should be back to where he was, if not better with a year of college practices behind him. Which leads me to the interesting part.
Unless the NCAA, the notoriously hard-assed NCAA, is willing to sign a waiver (they won't) or even two (they definitely won't) Royce won't be able to see the court until the beginning of the 2011 season due to NCAA rules regarding transferring as well as academic concerns (remember, he dropped out of the U). That means, assuming he gets into the school in the first place (likely), that he will have to stay on campus for a full year before he can play.
A full year of getting his work done, not cheating on tests, stealing jeans or laptops, trespassing in dorms, or generally f*cking around. It's basically a one-year probation period to make sure he has his shit together. Seriously, what's the downside here? He cheats/steals/flunks and gets booted out, and everybody says, "What an idiot! Iowa State was willing to give him one last chance and he screwed it up again! What a moron!" It's not on the Cyclones or Hoiberg or whoever the A.D. is at all. It's all on White. And if it works out, and he keeps his nose clean and ends up playing in two years and maximizes his potential, it's genius. Even if he's nothing more than a contributor it works out well for them.
With the hiring of Hoiberg, Iowa State has pretty much announced they are sick of mediocrity, and they're looking to take high-risk/high-reward chances and hope the dice don't come up craps. Royce is the very definition of that kind of risk. And don't forget, Hoiberg isn't just some new coach. He was doing whatever it was for the Timberwolves for some time, and might know more about Royce the person that we do, and might be hearing good things from those in the Minnesota basketball community.
Of course, since this is Royce White we're talking about it's almost a certainty he can't stay out his way through one semester, let alone the entire year and a half he'd need to play, so it's most likely a moot point, and he'll likely get kicked off the team for playing mailbox baseball or throwing cherry bombs into the girls dormitory, but if he does stay clean this is an absolute home run. Although I'm not re-thinking the craps analogy. This is more like picking a single number and throwing your whole bankroll at it in roulette. Odds are you aren't going to cash, but if your number hits, we're talking BOATLOADS!