Former UNC Basketball star named as a finalist for NBA Most Improved Player Award

Coby White has taken his game to another level this season, as the NBA is taking notice of the former UNC basketball star's emergence.
Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks
Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks / Elsa/GettyImages

In his fifth season in the NBA, Coby White has taken his game to a whole new level.

The former UNC basketball star has embraced his role as a starter with the Chicago Bulls, setting career-highs in essentially every statistical category. His 19.1 points per game was nearly 10 points more than his 9.7 average a season ago, as he shot just under 45 percent from the floor. Although his scoring took a massive jump, White also improved upon his rebounding and assist numbers as well.

In recognition of his fantastic season, White has been tabbed as one of the three finalists for the 2023-2024 Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award.

White is joined by Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers and Alperen Sengun of the Houston Rockets as this year's finalists. Although both Maxey and Sengun had tremendous seasons in their own right, White just might be the favorite to win the award, and rightly so.

The former Tar Heel had plenty of standout performances during the 2023-2024 season, but none were bigger than his 42-point effort in the Bulls' Play-In Tournament contest against the Atlanta Hawks. Although the stats don't count towards White's regular season or playoff numbers, it's a game that could be viewed as a true coming out party for White as he looks to continue building on his NBA career.

Oh, and in case you forgot, this guy is still just 24-years-old!

Fans of the UNC basketball program saw how special Coby White is on a basketball court, and he showed flashes of it during his first four professional seasons. However, year five was simply a breakout party for White, as he went from a guy who the Bulls viewed as a rotation piece or even a trade asset to a player they can build around for years to come.