Spurs select G Derrick White with No. 29 pick in draft

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That is the only way Derrick White could describe his ascension from a high school player with 1 1/2 college scholarship offers to becoming a first-round pick of the vaunted San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio selected White with the No. 29 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night.

''It's crazy to be a part of the Spurs organization,'' White said. ''They have a great history and Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich) has done an amazing job there. I just want to get there and join the Spurs way.''

The 6-foot-5 combo guard averaged 18.3 points in his lone with the Buffaloes. Primarily a point guard, he shot 40 percent on 3-pointers and averaged 4.3 assists in 32.9 minutes. White started his career at Division II Colorado-Colorado Springs before transferring for his senior season.

''He's a good basketball player,'' Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said. ''He's not really a point guard, he's not really an off guard. He's a guard and he can shoot the ball. We think he can defend at a higher level than he has up until this point. When you have to do so much for the team like he did at Colorado, he couldn't get in foul trouble, he needed his energy to score.''

White credits the move to Division I for his first-round selection.

Coming out of Legend High School in Parker, Colorado, Parker only received a scholarship offer from a junior college in Wyoming and a partial scholarship to Colorado Springs.

''It just drove me to get better each time,'' White said of the limited opportunities. ''You have the doubters, you just put a little chip on your shoulder. It was humbling at times, but it made me work harder just to keep that chip on my shoulder to continue to never be satisfied.''

San Antonio also selected Clemson senior Jaron Blossomgame with the 59th pick late in the draft. The 6-foot-7 small forward averaged 17.7 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Tigers.

Blossomgame and White will both take part in the Spurs' summer league schedule.

''To become a professional, there's a certain maturity level that comes with that,'' Spurs assistant general manager Brian Wright said of the two four-year players. ''With older guys, guys that have been through it and have had to work their way through it, I think they come in with a different level of maturity and understanding of what it takes to be a pro.''

The draft selections are the first step in what could be a frenzied offseason for the Spurs.

San Antonio is reportedly interested in adding All-Star point guard Chris Paul through free agency, but would have to clear salary cap space to do so. That possibility has led to trade speculation about LaMarcus Aldridge and fellow starter Danny Green.

''The thing I'd say is we've got a team that's won 128 games (over the past two seasons) and been in the conference finals,'' Buford said. ''We're happy with the group we have. If we can make it better, we'll do it at any opportunity we can. But it's more than just players, it's the fit for our group. Our goals for this team are to continue to compete for championships and LaMarcus helps us do that. So, that's where we sit with LaMarcus.''

The Spurs must also decide whether to re-sign free agents Patty Mills, Jonathon Simmons, Dewayne Dedmon and David Lee. Pau Gasol is a free agent after declining his $16.2 player option for next season, but wants to remain in San Antonio on a longer deal that will provide the team with more cap flexibility.

The Spurs are also awaiting a decision by veteran guard Manu Ginobili on whether he will retire or return for a 16th season.


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