Basketball great Derrick White returning to UCCS for jersey retirement ceremony

By: David Ramsey

January 23, 2018
Derrick White
UCCS guard Derrick White drives toward the basket against Western State Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, during the first half of the third annual Downtown Classic at the City Auditorium in Colorado Springs. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Derrick White’s University of Colorado at Colorado Springs No. 14 basketball jersey will be retired in a ceremony before the Mountain Lions’ Feb. 17 home game against Metro State, coach Jeff Culver said Tuesday.

White will return to UCCS for the ceremony.

He was twice named All-American during his 2013-2016 UCCS career. He transferred to Colorado for his senior season, and was selected in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft by the San Antonio Spurs. White has played in 13 games for the Spurs this season.

“For me, what made Derrick special was his ability to get better every year,” Culver said. “All players have weaknesses. He was able to attack his weaknesses one offseason at a time to a point that it made him borderline unguardable.”

When White finished playing at Aurora’s Legend High School, he encountered limited interest from college coaches. Culver offered the only scholarship from a four-year college.

Together, Culver and White led a basketball revolution, lifting one of the region’s most pitiful college programs to consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. In his final UCCS season, White averaged 25.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists and led the Mountain Lions to a 27-6 record along with the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament title.

UCCS also is planning to retire the number of Alex Welsh, White’s teammate and close friend, Culver said. Welsh is playing professionally in Poland and the school is trying to schedule a retirement ceremony.