The Bizarre Exit Strategy of Minnesota’s Royce WhitePosted by rtmsf on December 17th, 2009
You guys remember Royce White, the uber-talented freshman power forward from Minnesota who has spent the better part of his first semester in college getting in various forms of trouble — allegedly shoplifting at the Mall of America followed by shoving a security officer onto the ground (twice), and somehow later getting mixed up in a laptop theft on campus where it’s still uncertain how involved (if at all) White may have been in that incident. Needless to say, he’s been on semi-permanent suspension by Tubby Smith as the team and school awaited to learn how all of this would ultimately shake out.
Gopher Nation probably didn’t think it would shake out like this. Today White released a bizarre, somewhat rambling, six-minute mea culpa explanation buttressed by a couple of interestingly chosen musical montages at each end. In the opening segment straight out of Eight Mile, he walks around the streets of Minneapolis while Beanie Sigel’s “Feel It In the Air” plays in the background. After you get past the clear ripoff of the Geto Boys, a quick read of the lyrics of this song reveals a troubled mind given to fits of paranoia and instability. White then enters the video at around the 3:20 mark as narrator in a Saw-like feed from his couch, where he riffs mostly about how the “wheels of justice” are putting a “stressful burden” on him, his family, Coach Smith and the Gophers. This crescendoes to a point at the 7:20 mark when White announces that he is “leaving college basketball” but that he will not be transferring to another school, and as for his next steps, that’s “to be decided.” The clip ends with another song chosen for maximum cinematic effect as photos of his friends, family and playing career cycle through: Timbaland’s “Apologize.” (keep in mind that the chorus repeatedly states, ‘it’s too late to apologize…”) But don’t take our word for it – check it out yourself.
There’s a lot here, not least of which involves his apparent resignation from college basketball. White clearly strikes us as a troubled young man who might need some time away from the stresses of basketball and school to get himself together. One commentator said this clip reminded him of Ron Artest in his role as emerging impresario, and he’s probably on to something, but we’re a little worried that he also has a bit of Avondre Jones in him as well, the former USC/Fresno State center and rapper who became notorious in 1998 for assaulting someone with a Samarai sword back when Samarai swords were cool (along with Raider hats and do-rags, but we digress). White is only 18.5 years old, and he wouldn’t be the first kid to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders and think that exiting stage left is the answer to his problems. But there was one segment of his diatribe that rang completely true, a morsel of wisdom of which we hope that White will heed. Too many situations like this turn out to be utter train wrecks, so we hope he follows his own advice where he talked about his coach Tubby Smith, who is universally reknowned as a great teacher and man. It’s very unlikely that Tubby would counsel White to fight the justice system by withdrawing from responsibility; even if White is telling the truth about the laptop incident, he still needs to own up to the shoplifting and assault. People make mistakes, but character is earned by addressing them and learning from them. Let’s hope that White’s story on the national level doesn’t end (today?) with people wondering what could have been.