Derrick White played a personal role in making sure his summer school session in preparation for the NBA continues at least a few more days.
White returned from a two-game absence for the San Antonio Spurs to help spark his team's 86-84 comeback victory against New Orleans Thursday afternoon in the NBA Summer League playoffs.
After missing the previous two games due to an ankle issue, the former Colorado star erased a sometimes frustrating shooting effort to post a critical 3-point play for the Spurs with 1 minute, 33 seconds remaining. White's drive to the basket pulled the Spurs into a 78-78 tie and helped complete a rally that started with the Spurs trailing by 10 points entering the fourth quarter.
As has been the case through much of his summer debut, White struggled from the field yet still managed to display the all-around skills that made him a first team All-Pac-12 selection for the Buffaloes during the 2016-17 season. Despite the recent layoff White came off the bench to immediately knock down consecutive 3-pointers. White finished 5-for-14 but compiled 15 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one blocked shot in 28 minutes.
White committed only one turnover and went 3-for-3 at the free throw line, including a pair with four seconds left that sealed the Spurs' comeback. San Antonio's first-round selection (29th overall) in last month's draft, White has balanced nine assists against 10 turnovers over four games in Las Vegas and Utah, with six of those turnovers occurring in one game.
In another Thursday afternoon matchup of former Buffaloes, Spencer Dinwiddie's Brooklyn Nets topped Xavier Johnson and the Denver Nuggets 85-74. Dinwiddie continued a solid summer run by going 7-for-7 at the free throw line and 3-for-6 from the floor, finishing with 13 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes.
Johnson, who completed his CU career this spring as the program's No. 11 all-time leading scorer, played sparingly for the Nuggets' summer squad but went 2-for-2 on free throws with an assist in four late minutes Thursday.
Like White, Dinwiddie and the Nets advanced to Saturday's Summer League quarterfinals. White and the Spurs will face either Toronto or Portland, which would feature a matchup for White against former CU teammate Josh Scott. Although Portland and San Antonio met on Tuesday, White remained sidelined with his ankle injury.
Scott's Trail Blazers were set to play Toronto late Thursday night, and the result could impact Scott's availability for Team Colorado on Saturday. The 6-foot-10 Scott is committed to playing with the squad of CU Buffaloes basketball alums in the $2 million winner-take-all The Basketball Tournament. Team Colorado, the tournament runner-up a year ago and the No. 1 seed this year in the West Region, plays its opening game in Las Vegas on Saturday, meaning a Portland win Thursday night would delay Scott's TBT debut.