MINNEAPOLIS -- Another Minnesota basketball recruit is in trouble: Freshman forward Royce White faces misdemeanor charges of theft and fifth-degree assault for allegedly shoplifting and shoving a security guard at the Mall of America.
Coach Tubby Smith announced indefinite suspensions Tuesday for White and senior guard Devron Bostick for violations of team rules he wouldn't identify. According to the Bloomington city attorney's office, White has a Nov. 17 arraignment scheduled stemming from the Oct. 13 incident at the mall.
Police Cmdr. Jim Ryan said Bostick wasn't involved in the incident with White at the mall in which Ryan said White tried to shoplift a pair of pants under a pair of sweatpants. When confronted, White allegedly shoved a Macy's security officer several times and walked out of the store. He was later apprehended without incident by Bloomington police, cited and forced to return the pants and a stolen shirt worth about $100 combined, Ryan said.
Smith said White and Bostick will be held out of exhibitions Thursday (against Minnesota Duluth) and Monday (against Minnesota State Moorhead) and possibly more, until Smith decides they're ready to return to the Gophers (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP).
"It could be two games. It could be five, six. It could be more," Smith said, adding: "It could be 20. It depends on what I want, what I decide."
White's campus phone number rang busy Tuesday. Bostick's rang unanswered.
Bostick is a reserve who averaged 11 minutes per game last season. White was dismissed from DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis last year for academic misconduct before finishing his prep career at Hopkins.
White is part of a touted recruiting class that includes transfer Trevor Mbakwe, who is also out indefinitely while a felony aggravated battery charge against him goes through the legal process.
"If you do something wrong, our guys know that playing time ... is a privilege," Smith said. "We expect them to conduct themselves in a proper way. When they don't, unfortunately they force our hands and force us to do something we really don't want to do."
White and Mbakwe were expected to give Minnesota some bulk and athleticism at the power forward spot. Damian Johnson and Paul Carter, who are more natural at small forward, will play more inside while White and Mbakwe are out.
For now, the Gophers are down to 11 players including freshman walk-on guard Dominique Dawson, who was expected to redshirt but might be activated instead to provide more depth.
"We still have a really solid group," Smith said.
As for Mbakwe, Smith said he agreed with athletics director Joel Maturi's decision to keep the junior from playing until he's cleared in the court system. Mbakwe wasn't at practice Monday or Tuesday because he was taking care of his legal matters.
"We love Trevor, and he's done everything we've asked him to do since he's been here," the coach said.
Smith said he wasn't sure when he would decide whether Mbakwe should be redshirted or not.
"He'll have two years of eligibility left if he does sit out this year, but if he gets it resolved in his favor he'll be back on the court immediately," Smith said.
Minnesota's first regular-season game is against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 13.
Mbakwe is scheduled for a Dec. 14 trial date in Miami-Dade County for allegedly punching a woman in the face in Miami in April. His attorney, Gregory Samms, said Tuesday he's been told the case will take priority in court that week and won't be pushed back. Samms has said his client was mistakenly identified.