First, a quick rundown of the AWIII era at KU:
The Virginia High School Player of the Year and a top-50 recruit in the class of 2012 (#48 ESPN, #51 Rivals), White comes in his freshman year and immediately leads the team in both scoring and steals during their August exhibition trip overseas. During the regular season, he plays somewhat sparingly, appearing in 25 games. However, he has some nice moments, including 15 points on 6-8 shooting vs. Belmont-- and who can forget his six points in the final minute during the ultimately futile, mad dash of a comeback at home vs. Oklahoma St.?
Then Coach Self recruits over White's head, bringing in Brannen Greene (debatable, but understandable) and Andrew Wiggins (completely understandable; not even White's biggest fan can argue the merits of that decision.) White's playing time dwindles his sophomore campaign, as he appears in only 19 games, and only 30 minutes total in Big 12 play.
I was a pretty big fan of White during his short time in Lawrence. If I wasn't the Sandra Bullock of the Andrew White III Bus, at the very least I was the Keanu Reeves, hovering over her shoulder and making sure she was driving at least 50mph. So with that little bit of favoritism factored in.....this is the first time in the Bill Self era that I've been this bummed out about a player transferring, and one of the few times that I think that Self misjudged a player's value. Normally, a transfer falls into one of the following categories for me:
The "I'm going to be honest here, you're probably never going to see the court, you're better off going somewhere else" group
Members (including, but not limited to): Tyrone Appleton, Merv Lindsay, Quintrell Thomas
Self-explanatory. I suppose you could make a case for Thomas getting some run later in his career, as he ended up being a contributor at UNLV. However, considering he was stuck behind Cole Aldrich and the rapidly-improving Morris twins, and with the quality of big-men recruits KU brings in almost every year....it wouldn't be a particularly strong case. I think Q made the right choice.
The "You've got a decent chance to play when you're an upperclassman, do you have the patience to stick it out until then?" group
Members: Anrio Adams, Royce Woolridge
I've never been able to get too worked up about these players' decisions-- although Adams is a bit of a special case, given his social media shenanigans, and the path he's taken since his transfer. Really, when you're a D-I athlete, but not a high-level recruit, this is your entire athletic career boiled down to its simplest question. Would you rather sit the bench for a couple years at one of the most prestigious programs in the country, and then maybe or maybe not play during your junior and senior years? Or do you go to a smaller school and get all the PT your heart desires? Luckily, I quit all team sports after my sophomore year of high school, so I never had to tackle this dilemma.
The "You're clearly not happy here, why don't you just go.....and say hello to LUMBERGH FOR ME!" group
Members: Micah Downs, David Padgett
This is perhaps the group that takes the most abuse from the fanbase after the fact. We're the University of Kansas, and we think any college basketball player should consider themselves lucky to play for us. We respond like the prom queen who just got dumped unexpectedly. What?!?! You can't break up with me, I'm breaking up with YOU!
The "Yeah, that was a bad thing you did. We're going to need you to go ahead and clean out your desk" group
Members: JR Giddens, CJ Giles, probably Naadir Tharpe (depending on what story you're buying into right now)
This group certainly takes its share of vitriol from the fans as well, but I'd say that most of us act more like parents after our kid just got caught egging the neighbors' house. Yeah, we're mad, but mostly we're just disappointed in you. Speaking personally, I know that despite the circumstances, I still wished more luck to CJ Giles upon his departure than I did David Padgett, which is ridiculous in retrospect.
I'm not sure that White falls into any of these groups. You could maybe lump him in with Adams and Woolridge, but I feel that AWIII never got the full opportunity to prove himself. Obviously, landing Wiggins was going to curb his development a bit, but if you go back to late summer of last year, all of Self's quotes indicated that nobody worked harder than White in the off-season, and he had earned the first spot off the bench. That lasted a couple of games, White suffered a hip injury and missed a couple weeks, and that was pretty much that. He was buried on the bench.
Perhaps there was something playing out behind the scenes. Maybe Self didn't love how White responded to a relatively small injury; or maybe Self just fell in love with Greene, knew that Kelly Oubre was coming down the pipe next year, and saw the writing on the wall. But unless more details are eventually revealed, I'll forever wonder what happened with Andrew White III.