Cameron Indoor Stadium will never again get to see Jack White hustle across the court for a block or let out one of his trademarked yells after a big play. White's four-year Duke tenure is now over, and last week he decided what the next step of his basketball career would be, signing with the Melbourne United of the NBL on a three-year deal.
The United are a two hour drive away from his hometown of Traralgon in Victoria, Australia, and the two-time Blue Devil captain is looking forward to playing basketball so close to home for the first time in the past six years.
White hosted a virtual press conference Monday and spoke on a number of topics, including his decision to sign with the United, his involvement in Black Lives Matter protests in Durham and his long-term basketball goals. Here are the highlights:
On his involvement in Black Lives Matter protests in the Durham area:
“It’s something that I’ve definitely learned about over my time in the U.S., especially. My girlfriend is black. My best friend, Javin [DeLaurier], is black. A lot of people that are very close to me are people of color and go through things that I don’t experience as an international person in the U.S. and just as a white person. Just seeing the events that transpired, to come to that point where there were protests and everything like that, I really tried to educate myself and try to come to a better level of understanding so I could really just support my friends and people that I care about in this time.
"When my girlfriend, or Javin, for example, saw what happened to George Floyd—he’s getting killed and you just feel like that could’ve been anyone. It’s not just him, it could’ve been anyone. I just really felt like it was appropriate for me to stand in solidarity, as did a lot of people who weren’t people of color at those protests. I just try to stand for the right thing and what I was raised to believe was right, and that’s that everyone should be equal and no one should feel unsafe or at a disadvantage to anyone else just because of something they can’t control. It was a big thing for me to step up, understanding that I have a platform and people look up to me. I have a pretty strong voice, I’d like to think, so for me to be there, especially as a white man, to stand up and acknowledge that something’s wrong and as a community we’re trying to stand up against it. I thought that was the right thing to do.”
On head coach Mike Krzyzewski calling him ‘the best teammate ever’:
“First of all, that made me feel really good. I’d probably have to disagree with him actually, though. I really think in my experience, [Justin Robinson] was one of the most selfless [people]. He just cared about you a lot. He was super selfless, and he just really wanted to see you do well. I’ve got to say, I was just so happy for how his stuff finished up and March Madness would’ve seen a new player come into light with J-Rob, I reckon. Obviously, it was a huge honor for me to hear him say that and just to have him be part of my career for the four years, especially in the stage of his career that he’s at, and to be able to be captain twice of his teams and learn from him on a daily basis. I feel like I’m one of the luckier basketball players on the planet in terms of that stuff."
On if there is a moment in his career at Duke that stands out as his favorite:
“The thing that probably stands out the most is just those big wins—the ACC tournament wins my freshman and junior year were huge, just because it’s all part of the group getting that done. That’s probably the thing that I think about the most, actually, is just the different teams and groups that I’ve been able to be a part of and the amazing talent that I’ve been able to play with and build relationships with.”
On what led to him signing with the Melbourne United:
“I was pretty fortunate that I had every team in the league reach out to me in one way or another. I was pretty fortunate there in terms of my options, but I really thought Melbourne was the best spot for me regardless of it being one of the closer teams to my hometown and my family. I just really felt like I have a good opportunity there to come in. There are a couple big re-signings and veterans that I’m really excited to learn off on the team. Obviously, Dean Vickerman is a great coach. Every time I’ve come home in the summer between college seasons, I’ve been able to work out with them and they’ve been very welcoming of me, so I already had an existing relationship with him as well as a fair chunk of the players. I really just felt like it all kind of came together pretty well for me and I was pretty lucky.”
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On playing in the NBA in the future:
“That’s always been a goal of mine. I’ve been fortunate to have a couple interviews already with some NBA teams and I was hoping to be in Vegas at the moment doing Summer League and all that kind of stuff if COVID wasn’t around to just obviously put my foot in the door a bit, but that’s definitely a dream of mine. I think that just comes with my trying to be the best player I can be and I feel like in my own mind if I really try to fulfill my potential then that’s where I belong, along with I really want to be an Olympian. That’s been my childhood dream. If I was an Olympian and an NBA player I could die a happy man.”