Royce White, a 6'8", 250-pound native of Minneapolis and former Minnesota's Mr. Basketball in 2009, has agreed to transfer from Minnesota to play basketball at Iowa State.
White was one of prized recruits during Minnesota Coach Tubby Smith’s tenure. White was ranked the 19th-best player in the country in the class of 2009 by Rivals.com and Scout.com, and was one of just 20 players selected for the Jordan Brand Classic in 2009.
White unfortunately never played a game for the hometown Golden Gophers.
The decision of White to transfer to the Cyclones appears to be a very good decision for both White and for Iowa State Basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg. White needs a second chance and Hoiberg needs a player with talent that can impact his program.
White was suspended last fall after an incident at the Mall of America and later pleaded guilty to fifth degree theft and disorderly conduct. White left the Minnesota basketball program in February after being charged with trespassing in connection to an alleged theft of a laptop computer from a university dorm.
White appears to have learned some valuable lessons during this past year. "I definitely think that the hurdles that I have overcome definitely changed me in a way where I'm very, very cautious about what I do on a day-to-day basis," White said.
Hoiberg, who starred at Iowa State and formerly played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, called White a "world-class" talent who has the ability to be a high-level NBA player someday.
"The thing I like best about Royce is that he's a very unselfish player," he said. "You totally set your offense differently with Royce on the basketball floor. Use him as a facilitator, and you put him on the elbows, you let him attack and make plays. And he's a very willing passer."
Hoiberg said he talked to numerous people close to White and believes he's committed to meeting the expectations the Cyclones have for their players.
White, who said he grew up rooting for Hoiberg when he played for the Timberwolves, will be one of the most highly touted players to join Iowa State in recent memory.
“I am aware of Royce’s situation at Minnesota,” Hoiberg said via the school's release. “I have talked with a lot of people who are close to him, spoken with Royce in person multiple times and feel he is sincerely committed to meeting the expectations we have for our players. On one of his campus visits, Royce also met with institutional staff both inside and outside of the athletics department and [Royce] left very positive impressions on everyone.”
"He's a very engaging kid, a very smart kid, and he fully admits to making a mistake," Hoiberg said. "Everybody involved with it, they all thought that he was genuine about it and that he deserved another chance. We're excited to have him on board."
Currently, White is ineligible to play next year for the Cyclones however he is in the process of applying for a waiver from the NCAA.
If White is granted a waiver, many expect that he will likely start given that Iowa State has lost several post players. Craig Brackins left early for the NBA, the NCAA denied Marquis Gilstrap request for an extra year of eligibility due to injury hardship and Justin Hamilton and LaRon Dendy transferred from the program.