White pleads not guilty to theft and assault charges

Gophers freshman basketball player Royce White had his arraignment Tuesday for charges filed Oct. 13.

by Michael Rietmulder

Gophers menâÄôs basketball recruit Royce WhiteâÄôs attorney F. Clayton Tyler entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of his client for charges of theft and fifth-degree assault Tuesday morning at Hennepin County District Court in Edina. The misdemeanor charges stem from an Oct. 13 incident at the Mall of America, in which White is accused of stealing $100 worth of merchandise and shoving a security guard to the ground. Misdemeanor charges carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Tyler said he will likely seek a plea bargain for White. âÄúHistorically in cases like this youâÄôre able to resolve them with some type of negotiations,âÄù Tyler said. White was suspended from the team on Nov. 3 for violating team rules. At TuesdayâÄôs arraignment, a pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Nov. 25. White did not attend the arraignment, which is not unusual, according to Tyler. White is also a suspect in a separate theft of a laptop on Nov. 7. The computer was stolen from a dorm in Territorial Hall on the University of MinnesotaâÄôs East Bank. âÄúIâÄôm hoping that weâÄôll have some resolution of that within the next week or so,âÄù said Tyler, who has already spoken to a number of witnesses. Tyler did not wish to comment further on the laptop allegations until reviewing security tapes. The freshman forward, who earned the title of MinnesotaâÄôs 2009 Mr. Basketball following his senior season at Hopkins High School , has yet to play a game for the Gophers. MenâÄôs basketball head coach Tubby Smith has indicated that White will remain suspended until his legal matters are settled. WhiteâÄôs teammate Trevor Mbakwe has also been suspended indefinitely, as he deals with assault charges of his own. A woman in Miami-Dade County , Fla., where Mbakwe was playing for a junior college, alleges that Mbakwe punched her in the face last April. White and Mbakwe were prized acquisitions in SmithâÄôs 2009 recruiting class, which was ranked 24th in the nation by Rivals.com.