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Terrico White talks about The Basketball Tournament and playing ball in South Korea

We caught up with the former Rebel a month before he joins Marshall Henderson’s Ole Miss all-star team to compete for $2 million.

Mississippi v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Help Terrico and the other former Rebels make The Basketball Tournament by voting for them here

Jeff: After declaring for the NBA Draft early and getting picked up by Detroit in the second round, you ran into some injury trouble. What role did those injuries play in your eventual exit from the league?

Terrico: I broke the fifth metatarsal in right foot [as a rookie], which pretty much made me sit out that whole season rehabbing. It took me a full year to get back to 100 percent. We had the lockout the following year and they cut me as soon as the lockout lifted.

I went to training camp with New Orleans and got released because I got hurt again. I had some back issues. After that, I went to the D-League that same year. I played in about 20 games and I had a stress fracture in my back and had to sit out the rest of that season.

So would you say injuries were the top reason you haven’t been able to find success in the NBA?

I’d say that was about 70 percent of it. The other 30 percent, I don’t know what was going on. But I knew if I’d been healthy, especially when I got drafted, I’d be in the League right now.

Since moving on from the NBA, you’ve made the rounds internationally. Where all have you played?

My first year, I started out in Serbia. After that I played in Turkey, Israel twice, Russia, then played in the D League again last year.

That second run in the D-League was pretty successful. You averaged 19 points over 43 games. What’d you think of your performance?

I think I did pretty good with NBA personal watching. I’d really been out of their view for three or four years [while playing abroad]. I felt like I showed them I can still play like I was when I first got drafted.

I’m more patient, as far as my play. My jump shot is way better. I’m not taking ill-advised shots or doing crazy things. When you’re younger, you do a lot of things just because. When you get older, your game matures. My ball handling got better, defense got better and my awareness of the game [improved].

You didn’t get picked up by an NBA team, but you did get noticed by a team in South Korea.

Yea, they’d come to one of my D-League games last season. They talked to me after the game and showed in interest in me. My agent told me I should go to the draft tryout so that’s what I did.

With all that’s going on in Korea, were you sketched out by going there to play ball?

You know, I ain’t gonna lie, [laughs] I was a little timid about it at first with all of that stuff going on with North Korea. But when I got there they told me that Seoul has a really big US naval base so that made me feel a bit better.

What’s been your favorite country to play and live in?

I would say Israel. A lot of people speak English there and the overall lifestyle is pretty good.

When I was there, I was hearing little bombs and everything. At nighttime I was hearing bombs and stuff. But I was already there, so there wasn’t any sense in being scared.

So you’re joining up with Marshall Henderson, Chris Warren, Murphy Holloway, etc. to play in The Basketball Tournament. Have you played in this thing before?

Yea, I played in it last year for Bluff City Blues, the Memphis alumni. Even though I didn’t go to Memphis, they asked me to play. That was my first time playing in it.

The competition’s pretty good. You play a lot of overseas guys and some former NBA players.

What made you want to participate in this thing?

Well, first and foremost, I think everyone’s playing for the prize money. But when the idea came up about playing with some of my old Ole Miss Rebel teammates, I really couldn’t turn that down. Some I might not have played with, but we’re all Rebels. We’re all Rebel family. I want to catch up with some of those guys.

Honestly, I feel like we have a pretty good team. We have shooters, scorers, rebounders. We have big men that are going to battle. I really feel good about our chances.

If this group had been at Ole Miss at the same time, how far would y’all have made it in the NCAA Tournament?

Honestly, I’d say the Final Four or the championship. I feel like if I didn’t leave early, we would have made a deep run my junior year. With some of the guys who came in after I left, I feel like we would have made a deep run.

That’s pretty much why we decided to do this. Just trying to see how things would have been if we all had played together in college.

Who would win one-on-one?

Of course, me! [laughs] I’m not gonna lie, though, Chris Warren is a real good one-on-one player, but he’s a lot smaller than me.

I would say Chris probably would [get second place].

Before y’all can get on the same court, this Ole Miss all-star team has to be voted into The Tournament. Any message for the fans out there?

I just want to say for all of the Rebel fans and people who watched me and the other guys play, go out there and vote for us. All the fans can see what all of us would have been like if we’d played together.

Vote for Terrico and the rest of the crew by clicking here. Voting ends this Thursday, June 1 at 11 a.m. CT. The Tournament itself begins July 8.