San Francisco State University Basketball Star Decensae White Charged with Murder


Decensae White (32) shoots from the free throw line during a game against the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters Dec. 1, 2012. The Gators went on to win 60-55. Photo by John Ornelas / Xpress

San Francisco State University basketball standout Decensae White has been arrested and charged with the murder of Melvin Vernell III, a rapper in Georgia who goes by the name “Lil Phat.”

The alleged murder occurred last June, when Vernell was found shot to death outside a hospital where his girlfriend was preparing to give birth.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard termed the murder as an “assassination,” according to NBC Bay Area. 

White was taken into custody earlier this month and was extradited back to Georgia where he will appear in court on May 31.

“We are in total shock right now,” said White’s father. “He is the most non-violent person I’ve ever known in my life. This is beyond anyone’s comprehension.”

White graduated from Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo in 2006, where he starred on the court. He went on to play for both Texas Tech under a full scholarship from the legendary Bob Knight, but left in the middle of his sophomore year. The NBC Bay Area report states that White moved to Georgia in 2009 to pursue a rap career after walking away from basketball.

However, White moved back to the Bay Area and walked onto the SFSU basketball team in 2012-2013. He wound up leading the team, scoring an average of 12.5 points per game.

“He is probably the best walk-on in school history,” said head coach Paul Trevor in an interview with KPIX in September of 2012. “He is high-level player who gets no money, and I am lucky to have him.”

White gained national attention earlier this year when he nailed a halfcourt shot at the buzzer to win a game, which was featured on Sportscenter’s Top 10 Plays:

“It’s been a crazy journey, and it’s definitely the road less traveled, I’d say,” White told KPIX regarding the past several years.

Now, he faces his toughest challenge yet, as he is charged with murder and could potentially wind up behind bars for a long, long time.