UNC Basketball: Coby White 2018-19 season in review

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 09: Coby White #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after a play against the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Dean Smith Center on March 09, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 09: Coby White #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after a play against the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Dean Smith Center on March 09, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The once four-star recruit leaves his state record 3,573 career points as he entered his freshman season at UNC.

Nassir Little | Rechon Black | Sterling Manley | Garrison Brooks

Coby White was the second of the freshmen trio to commit to UNC for the 2019 recruiting class, joining previous commit Rechon Black.  Coming out of high school, White was considered a blur and an automatic bucket; someone who had a brighter green light than the Green Lantern’s ring.

He finished his high school career as the all-time leading scorer in the state of North Carolina and set a points record in the John Wall Invitational. White was starting to gain some national attention ahead of arriving on campus in Chapel Hill.

It didn’t take him long to catch everyone’s eyes while at UNC.  Let’s take a look at White’s year in review:

The good

We talked about White’s speed earlier but he also has a lot of strength and is exceptional at creating space for his shot. As soon as he arrived on campus August fans compared his speed and style of play to that of Ty Lawson. Both have three key attributes that set them apart from other UNC point guards. Their quick first step, which makes them very hard to stop one-on-one.

Both point guards changed speeds well with the ability to stop on a dime at any moment and kick it another level seconds later. Finally, their lateral quickness is just something you can’t teach. It seems like they are faster with the ball in their hands. If only there was a way to set up a suicide drill between ’09 Lawson and ’19 White.

Additionally, White loves to get his teammates involved in the game. During his rookie campaign, White had 10 games with at least five or more assists and 11 games with at least four assists.

UNC coaches and staff always talk about how the point guard position is the most difficult position to grasp under Roy Williams; be that as it may, White was still able to thrive. It took Marcus Paige and Joel Berry an entire season before they were able to surmount as sophomores.

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White is just a natural born scorer and has immense instincts for getting into the lane and finding his shot. He did this all throughout the season and turned it up during conference play.

It was easy for White to fit into the UNC system because he’s a combo guard. Some would say his natural position is a shooting guard and there were times this season where he shared the backcourt with junior Seventh Woods.

Even though his numbers show it, he’s one of the better 3-point shooters in the country. Granted, 35% on the season isn’t awful, but I’m sure you were expecting low to mid 40%.

Let’s break it down:

Out of the 35 games White played this season, he made at least four 3-point field goals in 11 of those, he also shot 40% or above in 14 games. For those that love advanced stats, White’s true percentage field was over 55% for the season. White was also almost top 15 in conference field goal percentage (16th), 3-point percentage, and free-throw percentage.

We can go on and on about all the positives White brings to a basketball team.

The bad

Seriously, believe it or not, White isn’t the perfect player. At times he can be careless with the rock and sometimes telegraph his passes. He had five games this season with five or more turnovers including six at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Just so you know, UNC went 5-0 in those games.

White is also one of the few players with a shorter wingspan than his height. He’s a decent defender, but with that velocity at his feet, he should be a lot better. That it comes with time as the game will continue to slow down for White.

Best game

Does it just have to be just one? I would say this White’s best game in his freshman season came in the middle of ACC play during an 88-85 overtime win over Miami on February 9.

The other candidates were his career high, 34 points against Syracuse or his coming out party 33 points against Texas in Las Vegas.

Withal, I believe his Miami game was better because the Tar Heels won a close game to extend their win streak to seven at the time, he also had more assists (6) and shot better from the field (69%) than his other 30-point pursuances.

Yes, Luke Maye sent the game into OT, but White had the Kobe Bryant “Mamba Mentality” leading up to that moment.

What the future holds

Well, the majority of common college basketball fans/hardcore NBA fans know that White declared for the NBA draft earlier this month.

As this news saddens Tar Heels’ fans it shouldn’t come as a surprise. His stock is kept rising and the Tar Heels kept winning. It would seem silly not to test the waters at this point.

Williams and his staff will have him NBA ready by the time scouts come to see him perform at the draft combine. SI’s Mock Draft him going sixth to the Washington Wizards. A good fit for him since John Wall is still recovering from an Achilles injury. The ideal situation would be to team him up in Atlanta with Trae Young.

Next. Roy Williams watched this 2019 prospect on Thursday. dark

Depending on the team that selects him, expect White to come off the bench, be an instinct spark until he’s ready to take over the starting position. If the opportunity presents itself.