Since 1977, UNC has seen 71 McDonald’s All-Americans don a Tar Heel jersey. Those players have undoubtedly been vital to the program’s success. Of those 71 players:
- 49 have played in at least one NCAA Final Four
- 34 have played in one NCAA title games
- 9 have played in multiple NCAA title games
- 31 have won an NCAA National Championship
Only 22 Tar Heels who entered college as a McDonald’s All-American have been unable to reach a Final Four. The injury-plagued 1984 and 2012 teams, arguably two of the best UNC teams to fall short of a FInal Four, account for 12 of those players. The other 10 either transferred (the Wear twins and Neil Fingleton), left school after one season (Brandon Wright), or were part of that weird drought in the late 80’s. (Note: Feel free to check my math. I ran out of fingers and toes.)
I give you that brief history lesson because this summer, North Carolina will be welcoming two more McDonald’s All-Americans to campus. On Tuesday, UNC signees Coby White and Nassir Little were invited to participate in the pretigious event. They will be the 72nd and 73rd high school seniors to represent North Carolina in the star-studded contest. Next season, they will also be the only McD’s representatives on the team.
It is the first time since 2014 that North Carolina has multiple signees in the game. Of course, that class consisted of Theo Pinson, Joel Berry, and Justin Jackson. This also ends somewhat of a drought for the Heels in the McDonald’s All-American game. From 2015-2017, Tony Bradley was the only UNC recruit to be invited to wear the red, gold, and white jerseys that have become an iconic symbol of high school sports. You may have heard of him. That is some heady company that Little and White now join.
Interestingly, one year ago neither player was truly on anybody’s radar to earn these accolades on the national level. Recruiting rankings can be a little wonky, but using 247sports’ composite rankings, Little was ranked as “low” as 39th in the nation midway through his junior year. Over the next 12 months he shot up the recruiting ladder, earning a 5th star last summer star and now rests comfortably in the top-10 throughout the recruiting landscape.
White has had an even more surprising rise through the ranks. He was extended an offer from Coach Roy Williams in July of 2016, prior to his sophomore year. At the time he was a 4-star recruit as the 79th best player in the nation. White committed a mere three days after receiving the offer to join the Heels. Since then, he also earned his 5th star this past summer, and now sits at #25 in the 247sports composite rankings.
It’s almost as if Roy Williams might know a little bit about basketball.
Most recently, the 6-7, 205lb Little was seen on ESPN when his Orlando Christian team played national powerhouse Monteverde Academy. He faced off against Duke signee and top-ranked 2018 recruit R.J. Barrett, dropping 24 points in a loss. A week prior, Little tallied 35 points against nationally ranked IMG Academy. Needless to say, the dude can ball.
For his part, Coby White, who plays for Greenfield High School in Wilson, NC has taken the state of North Carolina by storm. Most recently, he broke UNC legend,and 1993 Final Four MOP Donald Williams’ 27 year scoring record at the prestigious John Wall Invitational. Averaging over 30 points a game for the season, White is on pace to break the North Carolina state scoring record. Some guys just know how to put the biscuit in the basket. Coby is one of them. You can listen to his thoughts on being selected, here.
Tar Heel nation can rest easy. The future of UNC basketball is in good hands with these young men.