Last week, five-star forward Nassir Little attempted to break the Twitter accounts of UNC fans across the nation. It was the first time a lot of fans got to see Little play, YouTube mixtapes aside, and he didn’t disappoint in the show he put on in Atlanta. It’s extremely easy to discount what happens in those games, sure, but dunks and three-pointers aside, was a guy that wanted to compete as hard as he could and show everyone why he believes he is the best incoming freshman in the country.
Nassir Little wasn’t the only incoming freshman for UNC that was invited to the game: Coby White was in attendance and had a hard time getting anything going during the showcase. If you got to see Coby White play during his senior season, you were likely a bit puzzled at his performance. Well, the Wilson Times got to catch up with Coby White and discuss the game, and here is what he said:
“It was a great experience but I don’t normally play good in all-star games because, I don’t know, I play good in a real game where everybody is competing as hard as they can and playing as hard as they can,” White said. “I mean, you’ve got to know what to expect like (everybody) going one on one or people going to put up their shots, but it’s just not me. It’s not who I am to just put up a lot of shots and not pass. But it was cool and a good experience to play with those guys. The practices were good because we all competed and we all wanted to win. There’s a lot of players at a high level and that’s something you’re not used to and something you’ve got to adjust to and I feel like I adjusted pretty well.”
If you got to watch the McDonald’s All-American game last week you know exactly what Coby means — former Duke star and current ESPN analyst Jay Williams went on quite the rant during the game about how neither teams wanted to play much defense during the game. There were a few decent one on one moments that took place between a few players, but aside from that there was a lot of players being a tad selfish and showing off for the crowd while barely playing defense. Is there anything wrong with that? Not in a meaningless game, but when you have as high of a motor as Coby has, it is not an ideal environment.
Later in the article, Coby spoke about what impact he thought he would have when he arrives on campus:
“Given my work ethic and my ability to compete, I give myself a good shot to go in there and make an immediate impact because of my energy and the abilities I have on the court,” White said. “But I think my work ethic is what’s going to separate me from getting a starting job and whatnot.”
“I feel like we’re going to have a special season next because me, Nassir and Leaky added to the team with the returners like Luke, Cam — if Cam comes back — Kenny and B-Rob and Seventh and all them,” White said. “I know the bigs are going to be working all summer and all of them are going to get better, so it’s only up from here.”
Given the point guard situation this coming fall, Coby White recognizes that he has a chance to do what is very rare for a Roy Williams point guard: play well as a freshman. It’s a lofty goal, but if anybody can figure out a way to pull it off, it might be White. He has been on a tear ever since his final AAU season with Team CP3, and it seems like he only keeps getting better and better. He finished his career with a North Carolina state record 3,511 points, and has received accolade after accolade. White has as good of a chance as anybody to be special next year, but it will be quite an uphill battle assuming Roy wants to use him more as a point guard than a shooting guard. Should Roy Williams primarily play him as a shooting guard, arenas across the nation will need to make sure they have plenty of spare bulbs handy, because they will go out frequently.
With all of the “way-too-early predictions” flying around, I will spare all of you of making any wild proclamations about the 2018-19 season. There is a lot that can happen in the coming months, as Roy is still recruiting, the NBA Draft is coming up, and Cameron Johnson’s decision on whether or not to come back still awaits. What I will tell you, however, is this will be a fun team to watch. Coby White, Nassir Little, and Leaky Black all seem like they are willing to put in the work to make it a special season. Until then, pardon me while I go stare at my calendar in hopes that November will magically arrive.