10 Questions with Richard White

Adam Depmore

 As we embark on another exciting journey in the world of student-athletes, we can't help but reflect on the passion and dedication that binds us all together. It's no secret that I'm a born and bred Spurs fan, and the exhilaration of those childhood memories watching my favorite team has left an indelible mark on my life.

Transitioning from my role as an athlete to that of a coach, I've had the privilege of witnessing how the Spurs organization has been a model of success, while continually evolving the culture. Their ability to shape that culture through identifying and developing talent is nothing short of legendary.

But here at LSAC, we've been building our own legacy over the years. We've witnessed some of the fastest swimmers in America rise to prominence, achieving both state and national championship titles. Yet, this success is not by mere chance or luck. It is largely the result of the Performance Partnership, established in tandem with our dedicated and supportive parents. These are parents who have sacrificed and fought for their children, going above and beyond to ensure their kids reach their current heights.

In the past decade, as I followed the Spurs' journey, one athlete stood out for me. Though he's no longer with the Spurs and is currently shining with the Boston Celtics, his rapid development from his teenage years to becoming a star in the NBA caught my attention. That athlete is none other than Derrick White.

Derrick White, born on July 2, 1994, hails from Parker, Colorado, and attended Legend High School, where he was part of the first graduating class. As a senior, he showcased his skills, averaging 17.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2.1 steals per game, amassing over 1,000 career points. Surprisingly, he was lightly recruited out of high school, receiving no scholarship offers from four-year institutions. However, he caught the eye of coach Jeff Culver, who would later offer him a room and board stipend for his freshman season at NCAA Division II UCCS when he assumed the head coaching role.

White's journey included three years of Division II college basketball at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) before transferring to the Division I University of Colorado Boulder Buffaloes for his final season, earning an All-American title in his last year at UCCS. His impressive skills brought him to the attention of NBA scouts, and he was one of the 60 prospects invited to the 2017 NBA Draft Combine.

Derrick White's journey reached its NBA pinnacle when he was selected 29th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2017 NBA Draft. In a fascinating twist of fate, in February 2022, he was traded to the Celtics, where he emerged as a key contributor during the team's journey to the NBA Finals.



In the exhilarating world of student-athletes, the quest for success is often a shared journey between the athlete and their unwavering support system: their parents. As a wise old bird once told me, "no one knows their kid better than the parents," and that statement couldn't ring truer in the case of budding sports star, Derrick White. The confidence and determination that a student-athlete displays on the field or court can often be traced back to the unwavering backing they receive from home.

Richard White's story is a testament to the invaluable role parents play in nurturing the aspirations of their student-athlete children. As the parent of a standout athlete himself, Richard understands the dreams and aspirations of his child more deeply than most. The influence of his unwavering support has not only propelled Derrick to great heights in basketball but has also instilled a sense of unwavering confidence that transcends the boundaries of the game.

As a parent, Richard White is keenly aware of the pivotal role he plays in his child's journey. He attributes much of their success to the unconditional support he and his wife provided throughout the years. "Every achievement, every milestone, it's all a result of teamwork," Richard White affirms. "We've always believed that our child's journey is our journey, and we are there every step of the way."

To gain deeper insight into the significance of parental support in a student-athlete's success, we reached out to Richard White himself. His willingness to share his experiences and wisdom is a true testament to the community spirit that thrives among parents of student-athletes.


1.Tell us about yourself and what it means to you to be a parent.

Being a parent is a wonderful gift.  You get to raise and support your children through their ups and their downs.
They don't always get it right but you love them just the same. The best compliment from people is when they say what good qualities he exhibits.  That is a great reflection and it feels good to hear them.



2. Can you share some insights into Derrick's upbringing and how it contributed to his growth as an athlete? 

Derrick always liked to play sports from an early age.  We would toss tennis balls, baseballs, and footballs around the house.  When he got a little older we played floor hockey.  He was quick to pick up catching and eye and hand coordination.
He started playing organized sports at age 4 with kindergarten basketball.  It was through that he met several friends that he would play the various sports with.



3. Were there any early signs of his talent?

 In baseball, he could run fast, bunt and put the ball in play to the left side of the infield.  The kids were not strong enough to make the long throw to get him out.  In basketball, he could dribble real well and pass the ball to teammates.  He broke presses and got the team into offense and sometimes scored himself.


4. As a parent who has supported a talented young athlete, what words of wisdom would you offer to other parents starting their journey in the world of sports?

Parents should allow the child to find themselves on the playing field.  Each has their own niche if you exhibit enough patience to not rush them.  Each player grows at a nonlinear rate.  I took some time to learn this but by the time Derrick was in 8th grade, I transitioned from coach to spectator.  The key is to do your work early and find people/coaches/trainers who mesh with your child.  We found them in Marcus Mason and Kevin Boley.  Marcus was a former D1 coach at the University of Denver. Kevin was a high school coach who had taken his teams to 7 final fours in 8 years including one championship.  Now all I had to do was be supportive and let him know that I loved watching him play and was proud of him whether he won or lost. Its hard for coaches when parents only look to how things benefit or impact their child and not the team as a whole. Best thing you can do is be supportive and not lose your cool when they dont have immediate success. Success should be in terms of growing from the various experiences and not just the scoreboard/scorebook.  I am still close with all of his former coaches.  It was cool moment at the draft party when all the coaches from his past, myself included, took a picture together.


5. Balancing academics and athletics can be challenging. How did you manage this delicate equilibrium for Derrick?

Parents need to set the parameters about what is important, including schooling.  If he got A's and B's he could play any and all sports.  A C meant he couldn't play. A D meant he didn't play and an F he could forget about playing.  It was his responsibility to do the required work and the grades he received.


6. Could you recount a particularly challenging moment in Derrick's sports career, and how did you offer support during that time?

During his first year in college at UCCS, Derrick put the team in front but fouled a three point shooter at the end of the game resulting in a loss.  He was pretty heartbroken but all you can do as a parent is not rehash the mistake.  He knew what he did, just tell him you are proud of him and learn from it. He did it again his senior year at CU, but knock on wood that is the last time.


7. Ensuring the physical and mental health of student-athletes is crucial. What strategies did you employ to safeguard Derrick's well-being?

We talk about giving your best and knowing if you gave your best effort and played hard you have to live with the results.  He started weight training in 9th grade to get his body in shape.  He wasn't the strongest but he learned how to lift and uses that knowledge to this day.


8. Can you share a memorable instance when you witnessed your child's confidence soaring due to your support?

Derrick has been confident most of his career.  He really bloomed the summer before starting UCCS by playing in a Pro-AM league.  He saw with his new height and strength that he could get to more advantageous spots and be even more successful.



9. Many parents struggle to find the right balance between pushing their child to excel and allowing them to enjoy their sport. What advice do you have for them?

The best thing parents can do is make sure the player has a love for the sports, provide access to fundamentals, and love them unconditionally.  It is when they are at their lowest that you must love and support them even more.


10. What does winning mean to you as a parent, and how have your perspectives on success evolved through your journey with Derrick as an athlete?

Winning is being thought as a good person and doing your best and holding yourself in a good way (win or lose) The odds are stacked against being a pro athlete but keep playing as long as you can.



Richard White's candid responses to these questions promise to be a valuable resource for parents navigating the exhilarating world of student-athletes. We hope that every parent on our team can draw inspiration from Mr White's experience and apply it to their child's growth and development. The unwavering support of parents like Richard White continues to be a driving force behind the triumphs and the unshakeable confidence that define our future sports stars.