Coach Tubby Smith Reins In Freshman Star Royce White

Kevin LindseyAnalyst INovember 14, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 14:  Head coach Tubby Smith of the Minnesota Golden Gophers looks on against the Indiana Hoosiers during the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 14, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Coach Tubby Smith earlier this month suspended incoming freshman star Royce White from the team.  When asked about the length of the suspension, Coach Smith commented that, “It could be two games.  It could be five or six,  It could be more,  It could be 20.  It depends on what I want, what I decide.”

Too often young stars are coddled and not given enough direction and boundaries by the adults in their lives.  As a result, talent is wasted and never fully realized. 

Royce White is one of the most talented Minnesota Gopher recruits in several years. Many considered White the most talented incoming freshman in the Big Ten.

White’s suspension from the team stems from his arrest for misdemeanor theft and fifth-degree assault for allegedly shoplifting and shoving a security guard at the Mall of America on October 13th.

Bloomington police say that White tried to steal a pair of pants and a short set worth a combine $100.  The police also say that White shoved a Macy’s security guard several times before walking out of the store.

Coach Smith’s initial comments appeared to be a clear message to White: If you made a mistake, admit to your mistake, focus on your classes, stay out of trouble, and you may see some action after sitting out two games.

Most observers of the program believed that White would likely just miss the first two games of the season. 

The length of White’s suspension has, however, become much more uncertain.

Yesterday, University of Minnesota officials indicated that the campus police identified White as someone they would like to talk with concerning the disappearance of a laptop computer from a dorm room.

White was identified by a neighbor of the victim as one of several people in the area at the time of the disappearance of the computer.

University of Minnesota Deputy Police Chief Chuck Miner, has publicly stated that they are reviewing surveillance video, interviewing people, and that they hope to complete the investigation within the next two weeks. Miner added that the dorm room was not locked and there was no forced entry.

Upon hearing the news that White was going to be a person of interest questioned by University Police, Coach Smith stated, “He won’t be playing tomorrow, he won’t be playing until he gets his life and these issues he’s dealing with taken care of.”

Coach Smith, as a father of a couple of young men, compared White’s situation to how a father can be disappointed by a son.  “It wears on you, but it’s something that happens, and you hope and pray that they can overcome any of the issues they might have,” Smith said.

Smith however is not crest-fallen over the loss of White.

Smith in addressing the media about what White’s absence, might seem mean to the program, “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.” 

Because White was arrested in October, it does not mean that he is responsible for taking the lap top computer.  White’s arrest doesn't even mean that he will be found guilty of misdemeanor theft or fifth degree assault.

While there has not been an official finding of misconduct by White, the circumstances do not look good on White’s resume.

Hopefully, White understands what Coach Smith is saying to him.

In suspending him indefinitely until he demonstrates that his behavior and conduct merits a second chance, Coach Smith is telling White that your conduct off the court is just as important as your conduct on the court.

Coach Smith, in making it known that "it wears on him" and that he is "hoping and praying for White" as any father would for a son,is telling White that he cares deeply for him as a person and wants the best for him.

In responding to questions from the media that he "hasn't lost anything" and "he is prepared to move on," Coach Smith is telling White that the young man is not above the program and that he needs to act like an adult because in the end, life waits for no one. 

Whether White ever steps on the court this season, he needs to know that the Gophers will have a successful season.  Furthermore, he needs to realize that Coach Smith can be successful running the program without him.

Hopefully, White understands what Coach Smith is saying to him.  

No one wants to see a young man with talent waste it and fail to reach his full potential.

Royce, are you listening?

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