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Royce White leaves Minnesota men's hoops

Dec. 17, 2009 at 2:17 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Freshman forward Royce White, who pleaded guilty to shoplifting and is a suspect in a dorm room theft, has left the University of Minnesota basketball program.

The 6-foot-8, 250-pounder, a Minneapolis native and the Golden Gophers' top recruit this year, announced his decision Thursday in a YouTube video entitled "The Last Interview."

The Minneapolis city attorney's office was considering whether to bring charges against the former Hopkins High School star for allegedly stealing a laptop computer.

White, who was suspended by Coach Tubby Smith, has said he is innocent and will not transfer elsewhere.

"I want to play for the Gophers," he said. "I still wish I could (but) the wheels of justice aren't turning fast enough. I wish I could be a great teammate. This is nothing between me and Tubby. He's been a great teacher for me, more than anybody that I've ever been taught by in basketball."

White pleaded guilty Dec. 2 to misdemeanor shoplifting and fifth-degree assault charges stemming from an Oct. 13 incident at the Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis.

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