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UNC Basketball: Takeaways from Coby White’s record-breaking performance

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The future of UNC’s backcourt is in good hands

Basketball: CP3 Live Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night I had the opportunity to see 2018 basketball commit Coby White play against Garner in the Millbrook Showcase in Raleigh. The Greenfield Knights, White’s team, fell to the Garner Magnets 94-76 with only one player aside from White scoring in double digits. Coby White himself finished with 46 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists. His 46-point performance was more than half of Greenfield’s total points for the game, and it was good enough to set a Millbrook Showcase scoring record.

Coby White’s huge performance this past Saturday night was just one of many so far this year. He is currently averaging 31 points per game for Greenfield, and just a couple days ago Big Shots updated their rankings of high school players in North Carolina with White listed as the number one. This class is also said to be the deepest class in North Carolina state history, which should give a solid indication of just how good White truly is. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the five-star recruit.

Coby White made 46 points look easy

Let’s set the stage for White’s monster performance: Garner’s defense from the opening tip was designed to do as much as they could to keep the ball out of White’s hands. Garner used the full-court trap a good amount of the night, and when the ball crossed the timeline the Magnets did their best to disrupt the Knights’ ball movement. Greenfield as a whole was visibly frustrated by it the entire night, and they could not get their offense going. In spite of Garner’s defensive performance, White got anything and everything he wanted when the ball was in his hands.

The first thing I noticed about Coby White is that, despite his biggest strength being his scoring abilities, he does possess impressive point guard skills. He has good vision and is able to see the floor very well, managing to make some really good plays in transition. He also played off of the ball a lot, showing that he is indeed a true combo guard. With Seventh Woods, Rechon Black, and potentially Jalek Felton in the backcourt with White next year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Roy Williams slide him over to the shooting guard position quite a bit.

As far as his shooting ability goes, White is a very polished shooter with the ability to score in a lot of different ways. He loves to attack the basket, and when he does you never know what to expect. He does so with such a high amount of aggression and athleticism, and embraced contact in a way that will make Roy Williams as well as UNC fans very happy. His three-point shot is also very impressive, and he finished the night making 5 of his 11 attempts good for 45%.

The most impressive part of his record-breaking performance was that it felt Coby White easily could have scored more points than he did. As mentioned before, White did his best to get his team involved, and yet there were a lot of plays left on the court by his teammates who failed to get the ball to him on open looks. White could’ve easily left Raleigh with a 60-point performance, but he easily did more than enough to give his team a chance to win.

He is a big guard

Coby White is listed from various sources as either being six-foot-four or six-foot-five. Regardless of which measurement is accurate, White is a big guard and his size will undoubtedly be a problem for a lot of point guards in the NCAA. During the game against Garner he was one of the biggest players on the court, and it proved to be a dangerous attribute to go along with his athleticism. To give an idea of how big he is: Theo Pinson is listed at six-foot-six.

What has been an interesting struggle at times for UNC in recent years is that the point guards on the court haven’t been very big. The tallest point guard in the past few years for UNC is Jalek Felton who is listed at six-foot-three, with the next tallest being both Seventh Woods and Nate Britt at six-foot-one. Should Felton stay on campus for his sophomore year, the addition of Coby White and Rechon Black (six-foot-seven) will make for the tallest group of point guards in recent memory. It will be fun to see how opposing teams handle their size and athleticism, and hopefully they will gel together well enough to help UNC do some special things next year.

Killer Instinct

As I mentioned earlier, Garner did everything they could to take Coby White out of the game and make his teammates beat them. Their plan seemed to be working for the opening minutes in the game, and then White decided enough was enough. He scored 22 of his 46 points in the first half alone, and continued to dominate in the second half with his aggressive play. Aside from the accomplishment, what was really noticeable was how White did it.

As Tar Heel fans, we’ve all seen this play before in recent years. North Carolina is playing against a good team, and at some point a particular play flips a switch in Joel Berry II, causing him to take over the game and, more often than not, lead them to victory. While the result of the game wasn’t the same as what happens at UNC, Coby White possessed that same killer instinct mentality against Garner.

When it comes to any athlete, the one thing they all have in common is that they hate to lose. What differs is just how much they hate to lose, and you can tell Coby White really hates losing. He plays with a similar fire that we’ve seen from Berry, and when things look bleak he is not afraid to take over and try to get his team the victory. What’s even more impressive is he does it in such a selfless way, given his skill-set. He doesn’t stop getting his teammates involved, like he probably could at the high school level, but he does everything he can to create plays and leaves it all on the court. Joel Berry graduating this year is going to hurt, but White’s intensity will make it a little bit of an easier pill to swallow.