Royce White: Rockets failed to provide 'recognition and respect of mental health'

Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

Royce White recently left the Houston Rockets' NBA Developmental League affiliate team for the remainder of the season. He spoke with CNN about why he did it.

Royce White recently made a surprising announcement they he will leave the Houston Rockets' NBA Developmental League affiliate in Rio Grande Valley, sit out the remainder of the season and return to the city of Houston to prepare for a comeback next year. White and the Rockets had worked hard to set up treatment plan to deal with his anxiety disorder, fear of flying, and other mental health issues, but with the announcement his season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers abruptly came to an end after just 12 games.

For those wondering why he left the Developmental League squad, the No. 16 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft told CNN that he did so based on the opinion of a team physician, who deemed his return to Houston to be the most logical treatment option.

When pressed for an answer (3:35 mark of the video) on why he feels the Rockets fell short with adequate treatment for his issues when they had seemingly gone above and beyond to accommodate his needs, White said he felt the team failed to provide "respect and recognition of mental health and how dynamic it is in the workplace and what types of things are needed to support that."

SB Nation's NBA Developmental League blog, Ridiculous Upside, had some interesting thoughts on White's sudden departure:

Certainly, it's easier to understand how staying in one city at all times would help lower White's anxiety with regard to worrying about constant travel and such. Even so, however, he himself has said that while in Houston, he hadn't been training more than a couple times per week. With his main goal being to better prepare himself for next season, the work load would seemingly have to be a bit heavier if he wants to make a solid impression and sufficent [sic] on the court progress.


After getting off to a slow start (as could've been expected) in RGV, White began to show flashes of the type of steady play that must've peaked Houston's curiosity when drafting him originally. He plays well off the ball, has solid court vision for a forward, rebounds the ball nicely, and knows how to assert himself physically on the defensive end. He's a gritty player who can score when need be. Through 12 games, he averaged 9.6 points, 5.6 boards, and 3.3 assists.

The Rockets (37-31) currently hold the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference playoff bracket. The team has not made an official statement regarding White's announcement.

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