White says he’s done at the U of M

Lost in the Joe Mauer buzz that engulfed the Upper Midwest on Monday was the announcement from freshman Royce White that he’s leaving the University of Minnesota.

White was tabbed by a number of magazines to be Big Ten Freshman of the Year this year, but legal troubles have kept him on an indefinite suspension. He said a couple months ago he was quitting basketball, but then returned to practice a few weeks later after details in a laptop theft incident on campus started to be revealed.

Now, White says he’s through again. But if you read the Star Tribune story, at least a couple people seem to think he could change his mind, including himself.

The White saga at the U of M has been bizarre to say the least. It even led to White "speaking out" during his suspension via YouTube, like on the video below:

Want to see Royce White play?

Well, who knows when – or if – true freshman Royce White will ever play a game for the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team.

White – picked by many to be the Big Ten freshman of the year – has been suspended all season long since he was charged with theft and assault stemming from an incident at the Mall of America. He eventually pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and assault.

White created quite the stir in the last couple of days after telling people on Facebook and Twitter that he was going to be posting a video on YouTube. It was unclear in his posts on the two social networking Web sites what exactly that video was going to be about. Many speculated he would be giving his side of the story.

However, it was much ado about nothing. But if you’re curious about the video, here it is:

Williams gives Gophers fans a freshman to cheer for

As a true freshman, it matters not that University of Minnesota men’s basketball player Rodney Williams has opened his career against such patsies as Stephen F. Austin and Tennessee Tech.

Williams has looked good in both games, and now it appears he might be rewarded for it.

Gophers head coach Tubby Smith is considering making Williams a starter after having seen Williams play alongside the starters in the second half of Monday’s win over SFA.

Williams is doing a lot of things right, according to the Star Tribune’s Myron Medcalf. Everyone knew he was a heck of an athlete, as the video at the bottom proves. He had quite the highlight reel of dunks before ever joining the Gophers.

While Royce White remains on the outside looking in, Williams will be leaned on to give this freshman class some legitimacy, or at the very least a face. White is facing theft and fifth-degree assault charges stemming from an incident at the Mall of America.

Tubby garnering too much blame for White

Signing Day for area colleges was on Wednesday, and it was just one year ago we were all talking about how Tubby Smith had made quite the splash for the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team.

The Gophers had four highly touted players join the team this season, but Royce White was the crown jewel.

The Twin Cities product had helped lead Hopkins to a Minnesota state boys basketball title last season. But just a year later, I’m left wondering if we’re ever going to see him suit up in the Maroon and Gold.

I saw a column in Sunday’s Strib editions regarding White, who in the last month we’ve learned has been accused of theft and assault stemming from an incident at the Mall of America. Shortly thereafter, we found out he was a suspect in an incident involving a stolen lap top at the U of M.

I want to start off by saying that Smith is the head coach of the team, so he has some responsibility here. And yes, White had some well-publicized issues prior to joining the Gophers, including getting booted from the DeLaSalle basketball team. Smith needed to do his due diligence in pursuing the athlete.

But I think it has to be noted that, even if Smith had found some real red flags while recruiting White, he still had to go for it. Had Smith decided that White wasn’t fit to attend the U of M, the media and fans would have had a field day with him. There would have been talk of how, once again, the Gophers let another premier in-state recruit get away. That no matter who’s running the operation, the Gophers – without cheating – will never become a big-time program on the national level.

Smith has said that White is no longer a part of this team until things get straightened out, and that’s all he can do. His hands from the start have been tied by those demanding that this program make a return to prominence.

It’s important that return be made the right way, but would it really have been acceptable to just completely pass on White altogether during the recruiting process?