Derrick White believes his expectations were reasonable when he decided to make the move from Division II to big-time Division I college basketball.
When White landed in Boulder following an All-American career at UCCS, it was with the hope he could at least make an impact on the floor with the Colorado Buffaloes.
The idea that White has far and away exceeded expectations was justified on Monday, when the senior guard was honored with a first-team selection to the All-Pac-12 team in a vote of league coaches.
White was the only player in the Pac-12 named to the first team as well as the league's All-Defensive Team. He also was the only CU player named to any of the all-league teams or the all-defensive and all-freshmen teams.
"You always hope for it, but this season has been going crazy," White said. "I've got to thank all my teammates for putting me in a situation where I can succeed. Individual awards are all because of the team, so I'm just thankful for my teammates.
"It's crazy. I'm blessed to be able to play this game here at the University of Colorado. I'm just really thankful for my teammates, mostly. I know that I couldn't have done it without them."
White certainly was expected to make significant contributions this season, yet he has put together a remarkable all-around season — a campaign made even more impressive by the fact it was his first and only year competing at the Division I level.
White leads the Buffs in scoring at 17 points per game, with his total of 528 points currently ranking as the 19th-best single-season mark in program history. White has turned in an impressive field goal percentage of .507 with a .402 mark from 3-point range while also leading the Buffs at 4.3 assists per game.
That 3-point percentage currently stands as the sixth-best single-season mark in CU history, with his 132 assists ranking 14th. He has reached 20 points 12 times this season, with nine of those performances occurring in Pac-12 play.
The biggest surprise from White this season may be the fact he leads CU with 45 blocked shots to go with a team-leading 39 steals. Amazingly, that blocked shot total ranks between two standout CU big men, Josh Scott and Andre Roberson, for the 14th-best single-season mark in Buffs history.
Given Pac-12 coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players for the all-league honors, CU head coach Tad Boyle was understandably impressed with the respect White was afforded after his only trip through the Pac-12.
"This is a true award based on other coaches in the league recognizing what kind of year he had," Boyle said. "It goes without saying that's pretty special when you get that kind of award. The first team all-league means he's one of the top nine or 10 players in the league, and all-defensive team means he's one of the top five defenders. We know he's good at blocked shots, but he's come a long way on the perimeter as well. I'm really proud of him."
The 10-player All-Pac-12 first team featured nine first-time selections, with league Player of the Year Dillon Brooks of Oregon the only second-time honoree.
Arizona's Sean Miller won Coach of the Year honors for the third time in eight years, with UCLA's Lonzo Ball earning the Freshman of the Year award and Oregon's Jordan Bell receiving the Defensive Player of the Year Award. USC's Chimezie Metu was named the league's Most Improved Player, an honor won by CU's George King last year.
First team: Bryce Alford, UCLA; Lonzo Ball, UCLA; Dillon Brooks, Oregon; Markelle Fultz, Washington; Kyle Kuzma, Utah; TJ Leaf, UCLA; Lauri Markkanen, Arizona; Ivan Rabb, Cal; Reid Travis, Stanford; Derrick White, Colorado.
Second team: Kadeem Allen, Arizona; Jordan Bell, Oregon; Josh Hawkinson, Washington State; Chimezie Metu, USC; Allonzo Trier, Arizona.
Honorable mention: (receiving at least three votes): Jabari Bird, Cal; Chris Boucher, Oregon; Tyler Dorsey, Oregon; Drew Eubanks, Oregon State; Torian Graham, Arizona State; Jordan McLaughlin, USC; Thomas Welsh, UCLA.
Player of the Year: Dillon Brooks, Oregon.
Coach of the Year: Sean Miller, Arizona.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jordan Bell, Oregon.
Most Improved Player: Chimezie Metu.