To hear of a prospect with musical aspirations is to roll your eyes and wonder: Can he possibly be any good? White sits at the iMac in the makeshift studio in his apartment, feeling the weight of such presumptions. And he clicks on Logic Pro, a music editing program, striving to puncture them. White's songs are not hip-hop but pop rock. They are not amateurish but anthemic, blending a half-dozen instruments. And White does not even write them for himself; he aspires to produce. "The NBA is talking about my anxiety disorder," White says, speakers blaring. "What'll they do when I gotta accept a Grammy?"
The rumination doesn't end there. He also faults the league for inspiring so many inner-city kids to futilely devote their lives to basketball, adding, "I'm not scared of how David Stern is going to react when he hears that I said that." Instead of attending the draft, White is throwing a party in Ames to raise more money for Orchard Place.
Until then, he will keep grappling with the same old stressors. Already a light sleeper, White has traveled across the country, alone and wide-eyed, for the first time since he was a teenage recruit. "And I'm scared as hell," he admits. White flew commercial to five cities before Vye canceled his remaining workouts last week, fueling the latest round of intrigue—Is Royce hurt? Scared? The recipient of a first-round promise?
In those visits, puzzled execs liked to play casting director: Who are you? What can you be in the NBA? Magic? LeBron? Boris Diaw? The questioning was tense—not to mention ironic. The answer, tattooed and transparent, is still staring everyone in the face.