The Houston Rockets will surely be monitoring the dominant performance rookie Royce White contributed in his return to the team’s D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, on Tuesday. After a miscommunication resulted in the Rockets rookie leaving the Vipers late last week, White returned and was brilliant in the Vipers’ 104-94 win over the Tulsa 66ers on Tuesday.
The versatile power forward produced a 19-point, six-assist, eight-rebound night against the 66ers, but the rookie, who missed a significant portion of the season in a standoff with the Rockets, doesn’t feel as if he’s close to 100 percent just yet.
“I felt all right,” said White post-match in an interview with the The Monitor. “I feel like I’m a step slow in terms of when I have my man beat, usually I go in to dunk it. That’s just being a little hesitant. It’s a mental thing. I felt good though.”
Even more impressive, White’s effort came in an off-the-bench effort in just 25 minutes of action. Another Rocket, Terrence Jones, and D.J. Kennedy also had solid games.
“I thought all three had superlative, across-the-board performances — steals, rebounds, assists, buckets, free throws,” Vipers coach Nick Nurse said. “They did a lot of everything.”
“It’s the best he’s played by a long shot,” Nurse said of Royce White. “He looked like a really good basketball player tonight.”
White claimed via Twitter last week, “Have been advised by our team physician it is most logical I be in Houston the remainder of the season. Thank you @rgvvipers for having me”. It was presumed White was returning to practice with the Rockets over the tail end of the NBA season.
White declined to get into the specifics of last week’s incident, but did say that his anxiety condition would mean he probably wouldn’t be with the Vipers during what he envisioned as a “hectic” playoff schedule.
Robert White covers the Houston Rockets for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.