By Mike Gallagher
Royce White has made many claims over the past four months, one of which already included him “quitting college basketball” via YouTube.
The claim as he was leaving a Hennepin County courthouse on a video posted on StarTribune.com, however, may hold a little more water than his previous claims of departure.
“I’m probably going to withdraw from the University of Minnesota this week sometime,” said White. “I don’t feel safe down on campus.”
That was White, accompanied by attorney F. Clayton Tyler, after a meeting with prosecutors in his laptop case rendered no plea agreement.
Things were looking up for White until his announcement today. He was back at practice a little over two weeks ago, and it looked as if, in this case, that he was going to be cleared of any wrongdoing considering the charges against him.
On January 22nd, White was officially charged with three counts of trespassing, which carry a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine per charge. He escaped theft charges, as the allegations are that White and a group of people entered three dorm rooms where people were present without permission and one of the people with him took the laptop.
White’s attorney was very disappointed that no agreement on a plea deal could be reached Monday.
“We weren’t satisfied with what they wanted and they weren’t satisfied with what we wanted,” said Tyler. “We hoped to resolve this matter today, and we couldn’t resolve it. Personally, people walk into dorm rooms all the time and talk to people, they charged that as trespassing. We think it’s a little overstated.”
I’m sure anyone who has been in a college dorm room would agree, and it would seem the prosecution is grasping at straws at this point. Nevertheless, since a deal could not get done today, a pre-trial has been set for February 9th, with a trial date coming after that.
“With this going to trial, since this is still hanging over my head the decision would be that I won’t be able to play anyway even though it’s just misdemeanor trespassing,” said White, who expressed that he feels he should not be on campus for fear of getting accused of something again. “It’s a safety thing, I feel like the police don’t have to answer to anybody. I feel they dealt with the situation very irresponsibly. Anything can happen any way, it’s all about perception, and I don’t want the perception to be that I did something wrong when I haven’t. I don’t want to risk that, so I think it’s better for me to just go home.”
When asked if he would go to Europe or what the future would hold for White, he replied with “it’s yet to be decided.” He did mention he would consider pro ball as well as life without basketball.
Myron Medcalf of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported that at least one NBA team has contacted people close to Royce White.
“There is talk out there that I might be potentially physically ready for that level because of my work ethic,” said White when addressing the NBA possibility.
Either way, basketball or not, White said he will not transfer and when asked what could be done to change his mind about leaving Minnesota, he simply stated “nothing.”
He then followed that up with:
“If Smith said I could play Saturday, I’d be back on the team.”
Obviously, Royce White hasn’t changed much since his YouTube video, as he continues to show his indecisiveness and immaturity. Putting this in context, let’s remember that White did make all of these comments immediately after he left the courthouse, so they have to be taken with a grain of salt from an emotional kid.
The similarities are eerie when you compare them to the time he “quit college basketball”, but very different as well.
The YouTube video was seemingly out of nowhere and out of frustration.
Even White’s attorney admitted that White was speaking out of frustration Monday.
The YouTube video was completely unofficial and never ended up being true.
This claim on the streets of Minneapolis was equally unofficial, as well.
White didn’t consult anyone on the matter of “quitting college basketball.”
He hasn’t consulted anyone on this matter either, and his attorney said he wishes White would reconsider.
That being said, the reason to give this a little more integrity is because of the truth White’s frustration carries this time around.
In his YouTube video he had absolutely no reason to quit the team and make that premature decision. In the end, he might’ve just been doing that for the publicity it would get his record label, Brown and White Entertainment.
This situation, however, gives him a number of reasons to want out.
Firstly, he’s right, the charges are ridiculous and the fact that he is being charged for wandering into someone’s dorm room is absurd. Charge 90% of college kids for trespassing if you’re going to charge White, because a big number would come back guilty.
Secondly, White believes that the University has handled this situation poorly. I would agree with that sentiment because of the recent developments. Tubby Smith supposedly told White that he would be allowed back when he was cleared of any wrongdoing in the laptop theft. Technically, as White will tell you, he has been cleared in the theft, and since he only faces misdemeanor trespassing charges, should be allowed back.
This seems, although it was another snap decision from a guy that makes plenty of them, like it may be the real thing. White has waited around for a long time, and while he has committed plenty of indiscretions in his time at the U, it seems as if he’s coming from a real place, rather than the alternative 3 in the morning Brown and White Entertainment world he had created for himself in his previous videos. Royce’ frustrations are legitimate now, and he says that “there are more important things than academics and basketball” when referring to himself not feeling safe around campus.
So why would he waste his time at a place that truly believes he doesn’t need and that makes him feel fear?
He doesn’t care about academics or the University of Minnesota, right now he cares about getting away and getting to his “ultimate goal of professional basketball” as he put it.
If he feels he can bypass a place that has done him more harm than good and vice versa, why would he stick around?
It doesn’t look like Tubby Smith is going to give him any more chances either. While he has sympathized with White saying that he truly believes White is legitimately concerned about coming back to campus, he also said Monday “whatever he decides to do, we wish him the best” and that he never expected White to play this year from the beginning. Not exactly a guy that sounds like he’s going to go out on any more limbs for Royce, at least this year.
At this time, nothing is official, but barring some outrageous turn of events in which Tubby re-instates White before the end of the week, it sounds like White is out the door.
With a February 9th pre-trial date set and a trial following, much like Trevor Mbakwe’s situation, this year is most definitely gone for him.
A sad ending to a gopher career that never really got started, and as one reporter described it, a “huge opportunity for him” gone.Follow paulmbanks