Tubby Smith: ‘I haven’t determined Royce White’s status’

Marco LaNave

Gophers men’s basketball head coach Tubby Smith said Thursday morning that he has only received preliminary reports that freshman forward Royce White is a suspect in a theft, and that White will remain suspended for Friday night’s season opener against Tennessee Tech at Williams Arena.

"He won’t be playing tomorrow; he won’t be playing until he gets…some of these issues that he’s dealing with taken care of," Smith said.

Last week, Smith announced that White would be suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules.  White was cited for misdemeanor theft and assault after an Oct. 13 shoplifting incident at Macy’s in the Mall of America, according to a Bloomington police report.  White is also a suspect in an on-campus theft that occurred last weekend, according to an athletic department spokesman.

Smith said he his not sure when he will have a further announcement about White’s situation.

"I haven’t determined his status in this program yet," Smith said.

Smith compared White’s situation to being disappointed in one of his sons.

"It wears on you, but it’s something that happens, and you try to hope and pray that they can overcome any of the issues they might have," Smith said.

Smith said that White, senior guard Devron Bostick (whose suspension was announced at the same time as White for an unspecified violation of team rules) and junior college-transfer forward Trevor Mbakwe (who will not be allowed to play until his aggravated-battery felony charge in Miami is resolved) have been great in practice.

"They’ve come and worked extremely hard, so we appreciate that," Smith said.

As the head coach, Smith said he has set the team’s attitude amid the issues that have arisen in the preseason with Mbakwe and White, who have yet to play a game for the Gophers.

"I’ve never lost anything I never had…I move on to the next thing because life is too short, and I’ve got a team and games to play and things to do," Smith said.  "It’s frustrating; it’s disappointing, but that’s life…A lot of things happen or occur in a family or in any organization, so you don’t dwell on it and you move on to the next thing, because that’s yesterday’s news.  We’re moving to new news, which is getting ready to play a basketball game, getting ready to start the season."