United bring back champion after NBA stint

ALTHOUGH there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding Melbourne United‘s roster moving forward in the National Basketball League (NBL), last season’s minor champions will be bolstered by the return of star forward Jack White.

White returns to the team that he spent two seasons with, including playing a key role in the 2021 championship side, and helping United finish both campaigns at the top of the table.

Following the 2021/22 season, he headed to the NBA, winning a championship with the Denver Nuggets after appearing in 17 games with the team. The forward also spent time in the G-League with the Grand Rapids and the South Bay Lakers, and most recently signed a 10-day contract with the Memphis Grizzlies to close out the NBA season.

In his most recent NBL campaign with Melbourne, White averaged 9.4 points and 6.9 rebounds for United, emerging as one of the stars of the competition in the process. Although his absence was sorely missed, his return will be welcome.

Standing six-foot-six with an abundance of athleticism, White will likely replace Luke Travers, who seems a strong chance to join the Cleveland Cavaliers (who drafted him in 2022), despite having two years to run on his contract. Both players play the same position and offer size and athleticism in the frontcourt.

Melbourne also seemed to be getting an improved version of White for the upcoming season, having clearly boosted his shooting since departing the NBL. In the G-League, he shot 37.7 per cent from behind the arc, in comparison to 24 per cent during his last campaign with United.

Head coach Dean Vickerman said the team was thrilled to be regaining his services on a two-year deal.

“We think he’s going to be a magnificent asset for us,” Vickerman said.

“The greatest improvement we’ve seen is in his shot and the confidence in the way he can get it off from deep. He’s going to be an easy addition to our group because of his versatility.

“In his time away he’s had to adjust quickly to changing lineups so he’s developed a really great ability to effectively play a role no matter what the scenario is.”

United will be hoping to bounce back after falling 3-2 in the Championship Series in March.

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