Gopher forward Royce White pleads guilty

3:28 PM, Dec 2, 2009   |    comments
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Royce White

MINNEAPOLIS -- Gopher basketball forward Royce White plead guilty Wednesday in connection with a high profile incident at the Mall of America.

White pleaded guilty to theft and disorderly conduct for a shoplifting incident and scuffle at the Mall of America in October.

Defense attorney F. Clayton Tyler said after White's hearing in Hennepin County District Court on Wednesday that the disorderly conduct charge will be dropped if White stays out of trouble for a year. He was fined $300 on the theft charge, and assessed $300 in court costs. He also agreed to stay away from the Mall of America for a year.

"I don't see him as a troubled young individual," Tyler said following the court proceedings. "I see him as a very good student athlete, and a fine individual."

White was arrested in October after someone reported him for shoplifting at Macy's. Police say the prized freshman recruit was found with about 100 dollars worth of merchandise. When stopped, he allegedly assaulted a security guard by pushing him down twice.

On a separate matter, Tyler says White was not involved in the theft of a laptop computer from a campus dorm room last month, and that they're cooperating with police on that case.

"This is a young athlete that hasn't done anything in connection with this particular computer theft case," Tyler insisted. "We'd like to get it behind him so he can continue with his educational opportunities, his athletic opportunities."

Tyler says White has made a number of statements to University police, and will review videotape with investigators sometime this week. He says they're hoping for a quick resolution, perhaps as early as this week, that will get White back playing with the Gophers (4-2).

Athletic department spokesman Garry Bowman says there's no change in White's status -- he remains suspended and is still not practicing.

The Hopkins High School graduate was suspended by Gopher coach Tubby Smith after the Mall of America incident. It is unclear if today's plea agreement will lead to his re-instatement.

(Copyright 2009 by KARE and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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