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UNC Basketball: Five NBA mock drafts project Coby White as a lottery pick

Roy Williams’ prized freshman point guard may have been too good for him to hold onto for one more year.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Auburn vs North Carolina Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the NCAA Tournament is over for the Tar Heels, all eyes have been turned to what the team will look like next season. Luke Maye, Kenny Williams, and Cameron Johnson will all graduate this spring, and this past Monday Nassir Little announced that he was going into the NBA Draft. The widespread belief before the first game even transpired back in November was that the Tar Heels would lose four players this spring, so the loss of Little to the roster shouldn’t be much of a shock. However, what few people expected back in November was the meteoric rise of Coby White.

Back in September, I published a piece about how Coby White may be the most NBA-ready point guard that the Tar Heels have had in a long time. In February, I noticed that his hard work and dedication to his craft was being noticed by some of the top media outlets, and his name started to come up as a first round pick on a number of NBA mock draft boards. Roughly a month later, White has found a way to climb even higher, and here is where he is projected in the top mock draft boards (as of March 19th): - 5th (tied with DeAndre Hunter)

ESPN - 11th - 8th

The Athletic - 11th

Bleacher Report - 13th

Overall aggregate draft position via Hoops Hype - 8th

In the previous two aggregate draft positions from Hoops Hype, White was projected to be drafted 34th overall back in November, and 20th as of January. His big time performances during ACC play have a lot of to do with why he has become such a hot commodity, as he finished conference play averaging 18.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. For the entire 2018-19 season, White finished with an average of 16.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He shot at a 42.2% clip from the field, and 35.3% from behind the arc.

Given his strong finish to his freshman season at UNC, the decision to stay in school or move onto the NBA has become extremely difficult, especially when the words “lottery pick” are added to the equation. If NBA executives’ minds are working similarly to these mock draft sites, White is comfortably a lottery pick in the draft, and there’s whispers that he could even be drafted in the top five.

So what does this mean for UNC? Right now, it means nothing other than the team as well as fans will have to sit tight and wait for White to look over his options. There are more than a few reasons why he should take advantage of his projected position and enter the draft, but there are also reasons to stay in school one more year to perfect his game. If Roy Williams’ sources tell him that White has a great chance of being a lottery pick, it’s likely that Carolina will have a second one-and-done player make his way out the door. If there are concerns expressed about where he is in his development, there’s a chance that we could see White suit up again this fall.

One piece to this puzzle that is very important to note is that as far as we know, Coby White’s decision will not have any correlation with the Cole Anthony situation. Yesterday on Twitter, a fan stated that Anthony was waiting to see if White was going to the NBA before making his decision (which will supposedly be announced on April 20th). Greg Anthony, father of Cole and former NBA point guard, stated that this wasn’t the case at all. The tweet by the fan was deleted after Anthony’s response, but the point is that if Cole Anthony commits to Carolina, it is not an indicator that Coby White has made a decision about his future.

We will hopefully hear about Coby White’s decision in the coming days/weeks. Check back in with Tar Heel Blog for updates on White, Cole Anthony’s decision, and other Tar Heel basketball news.