Tag:Royce White
Posted on: February 23, 2012 2:59 pm

Royce rolls comfortably into new role

Royce White quit basketball in 2009. Now he has Iowa State on the verge of an NCAA tournament appearance. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Royce White was ready to give it all up.

It was the fall of 2009, and White had yet to play a game for Minnesota. The highly-touted freshman was battling multiple legal affairs, including misdemeanor shoplifting charges and fifth-degree assault. Moreover, he was being investigated regarding the theft of a laptop.

Things were spiraling out of control off the court, and White felt he no longer needed the pressure of basketball.

So he announced, via YouTube, that he was quitting the sport. And taking control of his life.

“That was more of an address to the fans and people who cared and wanted an explanation,” White said this week. “There was a lot of uncertainty about the situation, and a lot of people were questioning why I’m not on the court. It gave people something from my mouth that couldn’t be distorted by the media.” 

And White meant it too. He stopped playing basketball, instead focusing on things outside of sports. White became a writer, penning everything from music and songs to business plans and marketing schemes. Instead of seeing a future in basketball, he began to think about long-term goals in business.

But, as much as he tried, White couldn’t get away from basketball. He saw the other guys from the class of 2009 dominating in college: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Jordan Hamilton, Derrick Favors, etc. Watching them succeed at the next level ignited a fire in him. Not a jealous type of fire, but a competitive one.

White knew he could hang with those guys on the court.

“Competitiveness is instilled in you,” he said. “Seeing them being so successful pushed me to be successful. I had a burning to get back to the court. I almost wanted to prove something to myself.”

There were several schools in the running for White, but he wanted to stay close to home and go to a place that was an underdog on the national scene. After leaving the sport, many people wrote him off – and so he felt he was something of an underdog too.

White leads Iowa State in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks. (US Presswire)

Iowa State, with new head coach Fred Hoiberg arriving on campus, was the perfect match for White’s rejuvenation. Hoiberg was stockpiling talented transfers, with White as the headliner. Reports out of Ames in the offseason described White being a dominant performer – but questions still remained about the Cyclones.

Could all these attitudes and egos mesh together so quickly? Will all of the transfers remain focused? Has Royce White figured it out yet?

“Personally, I took offense to that,” he said. “People who were saying it were part of the industry, who I already had a vendetta against. I was looking for something to take offense to; it helped me stay hungry. I embraced the idea of team and family. I had the most publicized problems, the most noted issues. They got grouped together with that. They didn’t deserve the scrutiny.”

White’s motivation wasn’t the only thing that changed since he originally gave up basketball. His mentality was completely different, his skillset was completely different, everything was different.

He no longer felt the need to prove he was the best player on the court at all times, no longer felt the need to dominate or score the most points.

“I was a better player than when I left,” White said. “My mentality about the game; I was playing for fun. It was about achieving success on a team level. My success couldn’t come without the success of the team. My thoughts about the game changed. Continuity, flow, getting people involved; those were the things I tried to embrace.”

After figuring himself out, figuring out the Big 12 was easy.

White has had an enormous impact on the Cyclones, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks – the only player in Division-I to achieve that milestone. The 6-foot-8 sophomore has a unique skill set, even at 270 pounds. As the team’s best playmaker, he is basically a point-forward when it comes to facilitating offense and creating open looks for teammates.

White also has Iowa State on the precipice of the NCAA tournament, as the Cyclones sit tied for third in the Big 12 at 10-5. It would be the program’s first NCAA tournament since 2005.

One might think that getting revenge on the game and proving everyone wrong might excite White. But he’s not even thinking about that.

“It doesn’t feel as good as I thought it would, to be honest,” White said. “Basketball has become a piece of my life, but not all of my life. There’s so much more now, wanting to help people on a very high level. My team’s success, for this community, is the fulfilling part of it. It took the place of my own vendetta.”

What would be the perfect ending?

“This community being happy with what we achieved,” White said. “I know that winning an NCAA championship is my goal, winning a Big 12 tournament championship is my goal. But more important, this community being happy with this season and what we’ve done.”

The next time White talks about giving up the sport of basketball, don’t feel bad for him.

His future is in good hands. His own. 

Posted on: August 8, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2011 4:22 pm

Royce White to be greatest Cyclone of all time?

By Jeff Borzello

With four transfers eligible this season for Iowa State, expectations are understandably high in Ames.

But fans might need to temper their excitement just a little bit.

Marc Hansen of the Des Moines Register penned a column over the weekend about the buzz surrounding new arrival Royce White. Apparently, Iowa State supporters are more energized than I thought.

The other day at a breakfast club meeting, I ran into a longtime Cyclone fan who said the transfer from Minnesota will turn out to be the best basketball player in school history.

Not could.

Not might.


While clearly talented coming out of high school, White is the same player who was expelled from his first high school, De La Salle (Ill.). The same player who had off-court issues at Minnesota, and then made a series of YouTube videos announcing that his college basketball career was over. He hasn’t played a game in about two years.

Yet some think he’s primed to be the best player in Iowa State history. Better than Jamaal Tinsley, better than Marcus Fizer, better than Jeff Hornacek, better than everyone.

White does seem more focused heading into this season, and was actually the first player to ever average a triple-double in the YMCA Capital City summer league. To his credit, he also didn’t jump on the bandwagon when Hansen informed him of the fan’s sentiment.

“It’s an objective term and probably a little extreme, considering all the great players who’ve been here, but I’d like to be on the list someday,” White told the paper. “I think it’s achievable. Not for what I do individually as much as for what we do as a team.”

There is little doubt that Iowa State will be vastly improved from last year, with Chris Allen (Michigan State), Anthony Booker (Southern Illinois) and Chris Babb (Penn State) joining White as newcomers. But this is a team that went 3-13 in the Big 12 last season.

The influx of talent is certainly enough to boost the expectations surrounding Iowa State, but it seems the Kool-Aid (to use a reference from Hansen’s column) is flowing a little too much.

Posted on: June 8, 2011 11:18 am

Hoiberg: Royce White Far From Crazy

By Jeff Goodman

Royce White is nuts.

That was the prevailing thought amongst just about everyone after watching the former Minnesota forward’s baffling series of YouTube clips about 18 months ago – one of which included him saying his college basketball career was over.

Fortunately for White, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg never watched the videos.

``I never got around to looking at them,” The Mayor said. ``But he’s really a great kid, an engaging kid.”

``It’s hard not to like him,” added Hoiberg, who also said White excelled in the classroom. ``He talks about life and just about anything. He’s really well-versed.”

Both Hoiberg and Cyclones associate head coach T.J. Otzelberger have raved about White and his character since he arrived in Ames a year or so ago.

``It’s unfortunate how people judge Royce because of a few isolated incidents,” Otzelberger said. ``But having been around him on a daily basis for the past year, what I’ve seen is that he’s a great teammate, a highly intelligent kid and a nice, sweet kid.”

Hoiberg said he did a complete background check on White, one that included speaking to Minnesota coach Tubby Smith.

``Tubby said he was a really good kid,” Hoiberg said. ``But he probably just needed to get away from the Twin Cities.”

As far as the expectations on the court are concerned, Hoiberg is advising caution. Sure, White was once considered a Top 25 player coming out of high school – but he hasn’t played in a game in nearly two years.

``It’s going to be an adjustment,” Hoiberg said. ``I just hope people understand that.”

Hoiberg said the aspect of White’s game that has impressed him most has been his passing ability.

``He’s so unselfish and is as good a passer at that size I have seen,” Hoiberg said. ``I played with (Kevin) Garnett and he reminds me of him with his passing ability. He’s a strong post presence who can really pass out of the double-team.”

White is just one of four transfers who will be eligible for Iowa State this season. Hoiberg will also have Chris Allen (Michigan State), Anthony Booker (Southern Illinois) and Chris Babb (Penn State).

Hoiberg hasn’t ruled out the possibility that all four could be starting in Ames.

``It’s possible, but I don’t know yet,” he said. ``I didn’t promise anyone anything. They all have an opportunity – if they go out and compete.” 

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