Australian rookie Jack White, who just completed a four-year stint at Duke University, has signed a three-year deal with Melbourne United, the team announced on Wednesday.
A native of Traralgon, Victoria, White co-captained Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils over his last two seasons at the school - averaging 3.1 points and 2.9 rebounds a game as a senior - and is now set to begin his professional career in his home state.
"For Melbourne, it was a mix of different things; I just really felt comfortable with the club," White told ESPN. "I guess that kind of arose from when I'd come home during the college off-season, they'd be welcoming for me to work out with them.
"That just allowed me to develop relationships with the coaches and staff, and players as well. So there was a level of comfortability there. One cool thing that I guess comes from it is also being close to home; I've been away from home for six years, and to be back home is a pretty cool feeling, and especially for my first professional contract."
Over his junior career, White was a staple in the Australian national program, representing his country at the 2014 under-17 World Championship in Dubai, as well as the 2015 under-19 World Championship in Heraklion.
White would go on to spend his entire college career at Duke, where he became a fan-favourite in Durham, North Carolina.
"Jack was just the best teammate ever," Krzyzewski, Duke's head coach, said. "Hard worker - came to work every day. One of the easiest kids to coach that I've had the opportunity to coach in my 45 years as a collegiate coach.
"A top-notch defender, rebounder and shot blocker. He does all the dirty work. Offensively, he'll be able to add and stretch a defence because he can hit his outside shot."
"Jack is a great competitor - not a good one - a great, great competitor. He will add to Melbourne United's already good culture and will fit right in with the culture of winning that Melbourne United's program has had."
The 6'7 forward played alongside the likes of Zion Williamson, Jayson Tatum, R.J. Barrett, and Marvin Bagley III during his time at Duke, so he's had the opportunity to play in more high-pressure situations than most typical NBL rookies.
"I've been lucky to play on some pretty big stages in my career," White said. "I guess that kind of helps me, in not being nervous no matter what the situation I'm stuck into, or the amount of people I'm playing in front of."
White brings wing depth to a United roster that still has a heap of roster spots to fill, and has the potential to eventually become one of the premier domestic players in the NBL.
United is coming off a semi-final appearance under Vickerman, and the two-time NBL Coach of the Year says he's confident White can make an immediate impact on the team.
"Jack is an exciting young prospect who has incredible potential, so to have him choose Melbourne United, and commit with a long-term deal is fantastic." Vickerman said.
"He is a leader, highly intelligent and a very hard worker. We believe Jack will have a strong impact both on and off the court and we are eager to help him grow as a player and person within our club's system and culture."
White was recruited by every team across the NBL, but said the fit with United was too good to pass up.
"United and I had common goals we wanted to achieve; both for me as an individual, and for Melbourne as a club," White said. "I felt like I had a good opportunity to play, contribute, and really challenge myself."