If you're a Gopher's fan, mission accomplished. Royce White is headed to play for the state's beloved team. Sources confirmed White has made the promise to play and will speak with the Gophers head coach Wednesday morning.
The Minneapolis (Minn.) Hopkins product, committed to Tubby Smith and the Golden Gophers. The commitment is a strong sign that Smith's program is back on track with the best in-state players.
The 6-foot-7 power forward has been outstanding this spring. Playing with Howard Pulley, the work horse forward delivered the goods the first two weeks of the spring AAU period. In Scout.com's latest Top 100, White was omitted. The next time around he'll be back in the mix and his spot was earned in April.
White played as a junior at DeLaSalle but was removed from the school. It may have been a wake up call to the forward who has since focused his energy and stepped up his game. Hopkins should be a Top 10 team nationally next season.
For Minnesota, landing White is a bit of a shot across the bow. The Wisconsin Badgers, in successive years (2007-08) crossed state lines and nabbed good players out from under the Gophers watch. Cole Aldrich, a McDonald's All-American, escaped to Kansas. When Smith was hired, clearly a change was needed and it was time to strengthen the border patrol.
There's talent in the state of Minnesota. Rodney Williams, an elite athlete and AAU teammate of White, is a priority for the Gophers. Smith might be the guy to reverse the trend of kids leaving the state.
"To me, I think what it does is it shows Tubby Smith's impact on the state of Minnesota," Rene Pulley, director of the Pulley Panthers told Scout.com. "We haven't had that in a long, long time. It's made a difference with some of the true talent in state of Minnesota."