In third grade, Aaron White held a vision. He used it to fight homework responsibilities.
Iowa’s first-team, all-Big Ten forward heard the story this week from his mother, Deb Kuntz. It was a tall tale leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft.
"I was like a lot of other kids that have that dream, before high school, before middle school," White said Thursday night. "I guess I was late to turn in my homework. The teacher said Aaron you better turn your homework in, in time. That’s something you’re going to have to work on when you get older. For a job, being on time is very important.
"And me, in a polite way, said I know Mrs. Anderson. I’m going to be a professional basketball player. So, I don’t have to do it."
The third-grade Aaron White was prophetic.
Thursday night, the Washington Wizards used a second-round pick, No. 49 overall, to choose the Strongsville, Ohio native. White became the second Hawkeye in as many years to be picked, joining Roy Devyn Marble, who was selected No. 56 overall last year by Denver before being dealt to Orlando. It was the first time Iowa has had player chosen in back to back years since 1998-99 when Ricky Davis and Ryan Bowen went in ’98 and J.R. Koch in ’99.
White became just the 19th Hawkeye ever to be chosen in the top two rounds of the draft. He’s the 59th Iowa player to be selected.
White said he felt good about where he stood with Washington. In the end, it was a guess.
"My agent called me and said that they really liked me for the 49th pick. You never got an answer until you saw your name on the TV. When I saw it, it was just a blessing and it really hit me," White said.
White earned first-team all-Big Ten honors this season after landing on the second team the previous two years.
White’s agent told him Thursday morning that between picks 40-60 there were eight picks where White fit.
"When I heard that, I wanted a little bit more of an answer but you don’t get answers in this process until you hear. I’m thankful for Washington and the opportunity that awaits me and my family."
White watched the draft in Ohio with his family and the entire Iowa coach staff.
"It means the world," White said. "I was a little hesitant about having a get-together just because of the uncertainty of the night and the emotion of the night, not only for me, but everyone here, who is have been in my corner and wants what’s best for me.
"I know they’re busy and have summer stuff going on. But they’ve been supporters 100 percent. It just shows what kind of guys they are. It’s not just a cliche. Everyone of them is like a father figure to me. They helped me this far and they can help me in the future, if I ever need anything and I can call and talk to them."
White finished his collegiate career second in Iowa scoring (1,859), third in rebounding (901), first in games played (140), free throws made (618) and attempted (800), fifth in field goals made (590), and 14th in double-doubles (16). The native of Strongsville, Ohio, became the first player to ever lead the Hawkeyes in rebounding four consecutive seasons. White is the only Hawkeye to amass 1,800 points and 900 rebounds.
As a senior, White became only the second Hawkeye since 1984 (Greg Stokes) to lead the team in scoring (16.4), rebounding (7.3), and steals (1.3) in the same season. White’s 618 free throws made throughout his college career are more than any other Big Ten player the last 50 years.