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UNC basketball: Will Coby White win the starting point guard position?

Looking at what kind of role White might play in his first season.

2018 McDonald’s All American Game Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the departure of an all-time great in Joel Berry, the Tar Heels will be searching for a replacement at the point guard position next season. Incoming freshman Coby White just might be the answer.

White is a McDonald’s All-American and consensus five star recruit from Wilson, North Carolina. As a senior at Greenfield High School, the six-foot-four, 170-pound guard averaged 30.3 points, 1.9 assists, and 3.1 rebounds. In January, White’s 41-point performance against Northside High School propelled him to the top of the all-time scoring list in North Carolina.

Most recently, White played for the USA squad in the FIBA Americas U18 tournament, where he continued to shine. He helped the team to a gold medal victory over Canada, but perhaps most impressive was his 25-point performance against Argentina.

Right now, White and Seventh Woods figure to be the frontrunners to win the starting point guard spot with Leaky Black and K.J. Smith also expected to be in consideration. Things will likely start clearing up more when the freshmen arrive in Chapel Hill this summer, but for now, White has built up quite a case.

Considered by most recruiting outlets to be a combo guard, Roy Williams acknowledged that while White can play multiple positions, he plans to use him at the point. In high school, White was allowed to do pretty much whatever he wanted offensively, but he will have to make some adjustments in order to fit into Williams’ system. He won’t have quite that same freedom at Carolina and he may need to develop into more of a distributor, but if he can make that transition he, as well as the Heels, will be in good shape.

In terms of passing, the skills are there for White, it’s more that they haven’t been tested. He has a knack for finding the open man, but he’ll need to prove he can consistently make the intelligent pass. Otherwise, White is a nightmare for opposing defenses when the ball is in his hands. He possesses explosive speed and an impeccable ability to finish through contact around the rim. He excels at taking his defender off the dribble and creating his own shot and will consistently knock down the open jumper. To put it simply, White knows how to put the ball in the basket.

Defensively, there are no glaring weaknesses in White’s game. His quickness and athleticism should translate well to the next level, and he has the size and length to guard at least a couple positions. The hardest thing for him will just be getting accustomed to the speed of college basketball.

Overall, Coby White is a very special player and figures to make an immediate impact regardless of whether he starts. He carries the type of raw talent that Carolina has been struggling to recruit in recent years and will be an integral piece if the Heels want to make a deep tournament run.