High-tech departure for high-profile Gopher
Tubby Smith is old-school.
Royce White is new-age.
The Minnesota freshman said he was quitting college
basketball earlier in the week via a
“What I’m going to do next is undecided,” White
said in the video.
In this day and age of NBA and NFL players doing live chats
with fans, it was only a matter of time before something like this
While many will criticize White — and rightfully so — for
the way in which he handled this, he did have nothing but praise
for Smith and said his decision was solely because of his recent
White pleaded guilty to a shoplifting charge, but denies he
was involved in a laptop theft from a dorm room.
If White does end up sticking to his word, it’ll be a
significant setback for Smith and the Gophers – who added
one of the top recruiting classes in the country this past
offseason with White, fellow in-state freshman Rodney Williams and
athletic junior college forward Trevor Mbakwe — who also hails
The trio was supposed to elevate the program to Sweet 16 or
even Elite Eight caliber. Williams is the only one who has logged a
single minute thus far.
Now, with the future of White and Mbakwe — who is dealing
with an ongoing felony battery case — uncertain, the Gophers
remain a fringe NCAA tournament team.
CAN’T MISS: North Carolina travels to the
Lone Star State and takes on a fairly untested and unbeaten Texas
team at Cowboys Stadium Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. There will be a ton
of big bodies and length on both sides of the court, but the key
will be backcourt play. North Carolina’s Larry Drew II will
run the show for the Tar Heels while Texas has solid Dogus Balbay
and freshman J’Covan Brown at the point with Jai Lucas
(Florida) eligible to play his first game.
UNDERCARD: It’s hardly an undercard, but
Duke will face Gonzaga in Madison Square Garden. The Blue Devils
are still trying to integrate freshman Mason Plumlee into the
rotation while the ‘Zags will get Matt Bouldin back after he
missed the last game due to a head injury sustained in a collision.
SURPRISES: Someone asked me the other day who the
season’s biggest surprises have been thus far. I’ll go
with Florida, Missouri State and Western Carolina. The Gators
knocked off Michigan State on a neutral court, Missouri State beat
Tulsa and remains undefeated and Western Carolina has won nine
straight — including a victory at Louisville.
STUFFED WITH COAL: The most disappointing teams
thus far: UCLA and Louisville. The young Bruins are 3-6 and have
lost to Cal State Fullerton, Portland, Long Beach State, Butler,
Mississippi State and Kansas. Even worse, every single game for the
Bruins has been either on their home floor or within miles of their
campus. Louisville always seems to struggle early, but the
Cardinals (6-3) have lost to Western Carolina and Charlotte on
their home floor and also at UNLV.
REVENGE: UCLA spanked Notre Dame at Pauley
Pavilion last year. Western Kentucky pulled an early-season upset
against Louisville and Oakland went out to Eugene and knocked off
Oregon on the Ducks home court. All three teams will have a chance
for revenge on Saturday.
REAL DEAL? Seton Hall remains undefeated, but how
much do we really know about Bobby Gonzalez’s team since they
haven’t played a BCS school yet? Sure, they’ve beaten
Ivy League favorite Cornell on the road and taken care of UMass and
VMI handily, but the Hall remains a mystery. Gonzo & Co. will
get their first true test when Temple comes into New Jersey on
UPSET SPECIAL: I’m 4-for-5 this season after
taking New Mexico last weekend to knock off Texas A&M. Well,
this week I’m going against one of the few remaining
undefeated teams in the country, Texas Tech, when the Red Raiders
head to Wichita State.
MID-MAJOR MATCHUP: Creighton heads to The Pit with
a 4-5 record while New Mexico attempts to remain unbeaten. Dana
Altman and the Blue Jays let one slip away against George Mason
last week and could really use a win while the Lobos could continue
to prove they are for real if they can get past Creighton.
HELP’S ON THE WAY: UTEP has already gotten
Derrick Caracter back and the maligned big man put up 15 points and
15 boards in a loss to Ole Miss. This weekend will mark the return
of several other players for key teams: Ater Majok (UConn), Brady
Morningstar (Kansas), Jai Lucas (Texas) and Keon Lawrence (Seton
DANGEROUS: Don’t ever count out
Michigan’s John Beilein – even if the Wolverines are
struggling and are on the road against the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks.
Don’t be surprised if Beilein finds a way to make this one
competitive down to the wire.
STAYING PERFECT: There are now 11 D-I teams
without a blemish on their record. Four hail from the Big East
(Syracuse, Georgetown, Seton Hall and Georgetown), three from the
Big 12 (Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech) and there’s Kentucky,
Purdue, New Mexico and Missouri State.
STILL SEARCHING: There are eight Division I teams
still looking to get into the win column. Three of them reside in
the SWAC: Jackson State, Southern and Alcorn State. The others are
UMBC, Penn, Marist, Bryant and Colgate.