Aaron White is having an excellent rookie season in the Beko BBL for Telekom Baskets Bonn. He's definitely improving his all-around game with hopes of making the Washington Wizards next season.

Aaron White is having an excellent rookie season in the Beko BBL for Telekom Baskets Bonn. He’s definitely improving his all-around game with hopes of making the Washington Wizards next season.

Aaron White knows half of the work has already been done. But while being drafted by an NBA team was a hugely emotional moment, the 23-year-old Washington Wizard draftee wants his current European adventure to a one-year excursion.

White has been very productive this season playing for German club Telekom Baskets Bonn, with whom he is averaging 15.1 points, 6.4 rebounds,1.2 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 31 percent from three-point range in the Beko BBL league. He also played 10 games for Bonn in the Eurocup, Europe’s second level club competition, and averaged 12.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.6 steals and 3-of-12 (25 percent) on three-pointers.

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“I’m enjoying it. I love playing basketball. I like the European game. I think it suits me well,” said White, who admits the differences in the game took a while to get used to.

“There’s a lot of ball screen action here. I think I can use that to my advantage with the four-man pretty well. I’m just trying to learn every day. It took me a little while when I got here to learn the game and the travel rule and a little bit on defense here and there. But I’m enjoying it and I think I’ve gotten better as the season’s gone on. Excited to see what the future looks like.”

The future, White hopes, will feature him playing next season in the NBA for the Washington Wizards.

June 25, 2015 was one of the biggest moments in the Strongville, Ohio native’s life. He was gathered with his family in Ohio watching on TV when Washington selected him with the 19th pick in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft, the 49th selection overall.

“It was an emotional day for me and something I’ve worked my whole live for. Obviously growing up in a suburb of Cleveland I was a huge NBA fan. Ever since I’ve been playing basketball, my goal has been to play in the NBA. It still is. The draft is a huge night and it was important for me to get selected. And now it’s important for me to play well here and go back and see what happens. It was an emotional night and something that was great for my family and for myself. It was special.”

White went to Summer League for the Wizards but did not make the team – also because of a numbers game as he said.

“The way the roster shook out I think they really liked me in the second round. They needed a bye year. They didn’t have enough roster spots. They were full. They only signed Kelly Oubre. They were full.

“They wanted me to come over here and improve my game overall, to continue to shoot the ball, get a little bit stronger, come back and do Summer League and hopefully catch on. It was strictly roster limitations.”

White said he’s in regular contact with the Wizards personnel people and has met the Washington scout in Germany as well. And while he would love to be playing with the Wizards right now, White is thoroughly enjoying his time in Germany.

“I love it over here. My family is really happy. My wife and daughter really like it here. We like the city of Bonn. It’s been an easy transition. I like living over here. It’s been nice,” he said.

Family is very important to White and December 27 was another important date for him – as his Bonn team was hosting Giessen 46ers. One of the leaders of that team is fellow professional rookie and good friend Gabe Olaseni.

The two have developed a very strong bond over the past four-plus years as they played together at the University of Iowa.

“It was weird. I’m just excited that we’re in the same league. He’s like family to me so it was kind of weird to be on different teams. But at the same time afterwards we spent a little bit of time together,” said White, who teamed with Olaseni to put the Hawkeyes’ program back on the Big Ten map.

“He’s the godfather of my daughter. He’s really involved in our lives, so it was a special game and it will be special when we go to Giessen as well (on February 27). I’m happy that we’re going through this together – obviously different teams and different situations. But we talk every day and we can bounce things back and forth. We have a good outlet in that situation.”

Together the duo guided Iowa to the title game of the 2013 NIT, where they lost to Baylor. The following two seasons White and Olaseni helped Iowa to back-to-back NCAA appearances – the first time the Hawkeyes did that since 2004-05 and 2005-06. And then last March, Iowa beat Davidson in their first game of the 2015 NCAA Tournament – the school’s first March Madness victory since 2001 when Iowa beat Creighton.

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“The highlight of my career was probably winning the Davidson game. The program hadn’t won a tournament game since 2001. So probably the tournament win and how much that meant to our fan base, and how much it meant to the program and getting back to relevancy. Now you’ve seen they’ve taken another step forward and hopefully that continues,” said White, who is watching this season’s Iowa team and their strong start.

“They’re playing well. I follow them, so I’m excited to see what they do.”

The last time the Hawkeyes made three straight NCCA appearances was from 1991-1993. The last Sweet Sixteen game came in 1999.

While White has done a good job adjusting to the professional game in Europe, he’s also gone through another experience which he had never dealt with before – a long losing streak as Bonn lost 14 games in a row this season.

“It was really hard. I’ve never been through anything like that. In high school we had success, in college we had success, in AAU we had success. But it’s something that I will look back on in the years to come and I think I’ll learn from it,” he said.

“It’s something that I never want to happen again.”

White hopes to mark it off as another of the one-time ordeals he experienced during his one-year European adventure.



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