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San Francisco State Basketball Player Accused Of Murder In Georgia

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Decensae White, a basketball player at San Francisco State University, is accused in the 2012 Georgia murder of rapper Lil' Phat, also known as Melvin Vernell III. (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

Decensae White, a basketball player at San Francisco State University, is accused in the 2012 Georgia murder of rapper Lil’ Phat, also known as Melvin Vernell III. (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – A star basketball player at San Francisco State University has been arrested on suspicion of a murdering a man in Georgia.

Decensae White, the team’s high scorer, just wrapped up his senior season at San Francisco State. White made headlines for a buzzer-beating half-court shot in February.

According to authorities, White was wanted in the shooting death last summer of a rapper called Lil’ Phat, whose real name is Melvin Vernell III. White was arrested in his hometown of Pacifica on April 24th.

“He was arrested in our county on a warrant for his arrest out of the state of Georgia for the crime of murder,” said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. White was extradited to Fulton County, Georgia on May 13th.

Joe Torrigno, a neighbor, said he has known White since he was a kid. “I find that hard to believe…he’s a good kid,” he told KPIX 5.

Torrigno said if White is convicted, it would be devastating to the community that has been cheering him on for years.

“That would be terrible because I know he has a young family and a wife and so I wish him all the best,” Torrigno said.

White was the second leading scorer at Serra High School in San Mateo, where he graduated in 2006. He went to Texas Tech University on a full scholarship to play for legendary coach Bobby Knight and was roommates with Michael Crabtree, now a wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers.

He transferred to Santa Clara University and then took three seasons off. White decided to give it one final shot at San Francisco State, after becoming a father.

White spoke with KPIX 5 in February about that decision. “For me to want to tell (my son) to finish school, but for me have not to even finish up my playing career or school or anything like that, you know that’s a big thing just looking at him,” White said.

“What we learn with athletes sometimes when you treat somebody like they’re special and unlike others, sometimes they think they’re above the law. And the answer is, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a prince or pauper, if you commit a crime we’re going to put you into jail like anybody else,” Wagstaffe said.

White’s family did not respond to KPIX 5′s request for comment as of Friday night. The 25-year-old is expected to appear in court on May 31st.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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