AMES, Iowa (WCCO) — Royce White is one of the most talented basketball players that didn’t play for Tubby Smith because of off-the-court issues. He’s now at Iowa State under the tutelage of former Timberwolf Fred Hoiberg.

White finished a troubled high school basketball career on track. Hopkins High School had arguably the best team in the history of the state. And White was front and center — a state title and Mr. Basketball were part of his senior year.

The move to the University of Minnesota never got on track. He never played a minute for the Gophers and faced legal issues his entire freshman year. There was speculation he would never get back and that the people he ran with were evidence he could not make it.

“I think one of the things that people would say is that I was hanging out with the wrong crowd … I would argue that. I would say that the people who wanted me to achieve their vision of success don’t understand how I felt about the crowd I hung out with,” White said.

White knew he could play basketball but he needed a place that would accept him and meet his needs. So he landed at Ames, Iowa at Iowa State University. It’s big time basketball and it’s White’s opportunity to prove that he belongs in college and that he can play at the highest level.

He came with the ability and the baggage, well aware of all of it was his new coach Hoiberg.

“He has got over a 3.0 every semester that he’s been here. And he’s a likable kid, he’s a fun kid to be around. He’s got an anxiety disorder, there’s no doubt about that. It’s diagnosed and it’s something that you have to monitor,” Hoiberg said.

That’s part of his untold story — an anxiety disorder he treats with medication. But that doesn’t excuse behavior, which meant this stop had to be a good one and the reach to help him had to have rewards for both sides.

“Actually had him meet with a whole host of people outside of athletics on campus and everybody felt very comfortable that he should get another chance,” said Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard. “And he has delivered on that. One of the things that I told him is what’s most important when you get a second chance is you don’t screw it up for the next person.”

So far he has rewarded those that provided him an opportunity. White is excelling on a basketball team that features several transfers. White has played both center and point guard at 270 pounds. And this game that he used to live for has changed.

“I love the game. I would say that I don’t love it as much as I did as a kid,” White said.

Some of his new found approach may stem from a new addition. He and his girlfriend of seven years have a 9-month-old son. Now White is learning that fatherhood is like basketball — a challenging endeavor.

“Big part of what I want to do five, 10 years from now. He’s 9 months old and he means the world to me and everything I do is to make the world a better place for him. And let him have some of the things I never got to enjoy as a kid,” White said.

While his name is synonymous with basketball, his interests are much more diverse.

“The music label thing is still going strong. I developed a couple Internet couples that are being created right now,” White said.

But his best bet is playing himself to a pay check, somewhere.

He is no longer in the big city, he is in a college town; a place that can be a fish bowl but can be filled with support and a focus that allows for his comeback.

“What happened in Minnesota, it was tough for me, tough transition for me, tough time in my life. And then having a blessing and a second chance, a guy like Fred Hoiberg coming in here, starting this program, starting his legacy here and them offering me a chance to kind of redeem myself,” White said.

On this night he gets support from the Twin Cities in the form of Rene Pulley, someone who helped White on his summer team in high school. He, like many in his life, hope this stop is about growth.

“I’m so excited for Royce. This is a long time coming. Royce has grown up and now he’s doing what we all expected him to do,” Pulley said.

It’s been a complicated road to where he is and so too his future — a future that he believes will be much more about business than basketball.

“I would acquire as much wealth to put it back in the places that I think are lacking,” White said.

Mike Max

Comments (18)
  1. Jake says:

    I would love to see him succeed, but even with the positive spin of this article . . . .

  2. Good Guy says:

    It doesn’t sound like the guy accepts any responsibility and puts it all on the U of M. if I remember correctly, he was kicked out of one high school for cheating, and then joined hopkins. While a freshman at Minnesota, he was caught shoplifting at Macys, assaulted a security guard when confronted, and later was involved with a stolen laptop in the dorms. Iowa can have this guy.

    1. Goodskate says:

      There was no mention watsoever that Royce White blames the U of M or anyone else for his experience as a freshman. Minnesota has a number of athletes besides Royce who left the Tubby/Maturi program: Devoe Joseph, Justin Cobbs, Colton Iverson, etc. None of them have blamed the U of M, however, they all believe they are blessed to be where they are now. Actually, Royce, Devoe and Justin were all sekected in the list of Top 25 Breakout Players of the Year by Bleacher Report.

  3. Mama T says:

    I am happy for Royce, however he has a daughte that he did not mention and she is 15 months old so what does that say? I am just saying!

  4. wow says:

    Hello, Maury Povich, this is Mama T.

  5. raena suggs says:

    wow royce is cold he’s going pro and so is his son

    1. Mama T says:

      Only time will tell!

    2. Mama T says:

      Actually, his daughter can go pro too!

    3. yeah i said it says:

      Like the Michael Jordan children….
      the OLDER DAUGHTER (16 months) will be colder at basketball than the prissy lil boy thats being raised NOT by him….

  6. mama s says:

    actually a blood test has to be done, that he has a daughter.

    1. Mama T says:

      mama s well lets test the “SON” too….we’re waiting to get ours done!

    2. The Other BM says:

      Mama S Just so you know he will be receiving notice soon about the “TEST” that I offered him 15 months ago that he hasn’t given me yet. So if I have offered the test and he has refused, who’s the scared one? In addition to that let’s remember that there is speculation that the boy isn’t his. So let’s not have to go there Mama S. How about you get off his team and make him be an adult and a “father” instead of okaying him to continue being irresponsible.

  7. mama s says:

    what a wonderful story, a young person going to college, contributing something positive to the world. , im sorry mama t and bm had to make it a bieber story. good job royce, keep up the good work. mama s

  8. Mama S says:

    this is a wonderful story, a young person going to college, contributing something positive to the world. sad to see mama t and bm had to make it a bieber story. good job royce, keep up the good work. mama s

    1. The First BM says:

      hahahaha funny a Bieber Story? Really? I completely commend Royce for FINALLY doing some positive and continuing to do something that he loves to do. But this sweetheart is far from a “BIEBER” story just because things weren’t told to others doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. That girl wanted Bieber for his money. What have I asked of Royce? To see his child? Yes. To buy diapers or hospital bills? NO. So let’s not act like I’m some money hungry female. It’s just ridiculous that he publicly acts as if he has it all together when he still is very irresponsible and rude. Plain and Simple.

    2. Mama T says:

      Let’s recap! Mama T said I am proud of Royce! Great story, it just has somethings that are not all true! Thus the irritation from the mother of his child! He acknowledges her off the record so this is no comparison to Justin Bieber story. She has known him since the 8th grade, and wishes him well in his career. By the way she is going to school, caring for their child, and working! Wow, now that’s a great story too! You Mama S on the other hand is in denial, and it’s sad to see a great grandmother dismiss or avoid having a relationship with her great grandchild! DNA will have the last laugh! Royce is great on the court, we all know that so let’s just get back to supporting him!

    3. Truth says:

      Why is it that people always feel the need to try to DOWNPLAY somebody else’s story!?!? Let’s talk about what is REALLY going on. Mama S doesn’t like the fact that Royce has another child that doesn’t “need” him Should he be in that childs life?! ABSOLUTELY!! Every child deserves that. Don’t try to lowkey call somebody out. Let’s highkey call the 2nd bm out… Just because he claims a child, doesn’t make it him. DNA DNA DNA!!! Time WILL tell. #factsonfactsonfacts I love The 1st BM and Mama T. I would do anything for that family and that child. Shoot I think I’ve seen the daughter more than he has! So while I commend big bro on what he’s done, accept the responsibility. Step up be a man. Then you will command and receive ALL of my respect. And that’s that.

  9. Renerive says:

    you must read mbt , just clicks away