Coby White Q&A: Chicago Bulls Guard Visits Chapel Hill After Career Year (2024)

The former UNC guard returned to North Carolina to host a basketball camp in the Dean E. Smith Center.

Jeremiah Holloway

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Five years after running North Carolina's offense under Roy Williams, Coby White returned to the Dean E. Smith Center on Sunday to help instruct a much younger group of basketball players.

The former UNC guard and current five-year veteran for the Chicago Bulls hosted a basketball camp with ProCamps on Sunday in Chapel Hill, doing so in his former basketball home. Campers and their coaches were stationed throughout the gym as the students, ranging from first to eighth grade, ran drills and received pointers throughout the afternoon.

White arrived on the court a shade after 3 p.m., signing memorabilia for the campers before joining the action. He bounced around from station to station, interacting with camp participants, coaches, and even referees. White kept the banter up throughout the event, not afraid to say, "Why didn't you shoot it?" after someone passed up a shot or, "You double-dribbled!" if someone lost control of the ball.

White even spent some time playing one-on-one against a few of the campers, exciting the young crowd with his pro-level moves while making sure he kept an undefeated record.

Sunday's camp was one of White's efforts to give back to the youth, something he's been intentional about doing. In February, he announced the launch of the White Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to empower Black families, raise mental health awareness and promote the use of art for expression, among other things.

White had his share of supporters around the basketball world in attendance at his camp.

Golden State Warriors guard Chris Paul, who's known White since he played on his Team CP3 AAU team, made a cameo at the camp. Henry Domercant from the Bulls organization and Charlotte Hornets forward Grant Williams were also in attendance. White also had UNC assistant coach Brad Frederick, director of operations Eric Hoots and, briefly, freshman guard Ian Jackson there for support.

White addressed the campers at the end of the event, expressing his gratitude for everyone's attendance.

"I hope all of y'all had as much fun as I had today," White said. "Hopefully, next year, I'll be back to do it all over again."

White enjoyed a career-best season with the Bulls in his fifth year. He set career-high averages in points (19.1), rebounds (4.5), assists (5.1) and field goal percentage (44.7%), playing in 79 games and starting 78 of them. He finished second in the NBA's Most Improved Player award voting. White was Chicago's second-leading scorer behind DeMar DeRozan.

In his one season at North Carolina in 2018-19, White averaged 16.1 points and 4.1 assists in 35 games, earning him All-ACC second-team honors and a spot on the All-Freshman team. White was in the same recruiting class as Nassir Little and Leaky Black, who are also on NBA rosters.

Inside Carolina's Jeremiah Holloway caught up with White at the Smith Center during his camp to discuss White's desire to give back, his career-best season with the Bulls, his memories at North Carolina and more.

Coby White Q&A: Chicago Bulls Guard Visits Chapel Hill After Career Year (2)

How long have you been in town?

"I got back on Friday night, so I just came through for the weekend."

You made it out to the baseball game on Saturday, where UNC clinched a spot in Omaha. How was the experience being out there?

"Yeah, it was fun. It was a great game. It was a nail-biter. It came all the way down to bases loaded. All they needed was one more out. It was good, though. It was a fun game. I don't really watch baseball, but just being at the game, being in that environment, the stakes of the game, it was fun."

You were able to host this camp in Chapel Hill. How often have you been able to host camps in the past?

"I've partnered before with one of my good friends, Jeremy Jeffers, who was my trainer in high school. He owns a gym, so he coaches a lot of younger kids. I partner with him for camps.

"I had one in Chicago earlier this year, but this is my first time having my own back home."

What inspired you to host a camp here in North Carolina, where you spent your college basketball career?

"I had a meeting with my sister (Tia), she really runs my foundation. So we go through a lot of stuff like that. She asked me if I would want to do a camp, and I said, 'Yeah, I want to do one, especially in North Carolina, for it to be my first one.'

"I think before, I've just been so focused on trying to get better, and you kind of get caught up in trying to get better so much that you forget to give back to where you're from. So I just wanted to come here and have one at home."

"Some of these kids I've seen grow up. Some of these kids are from my area. So I know some of these kids already. So it's good to see them and be able to come out here."

You mentioned the White Family Foundation. What inspired you to begin that organization?

"For one, I just wanted to continue to give back. Using my platform to help kids that come from where I come from, poverty areas, just give kids different opportunities and grow. That was the first thing. Hopefully, it continues to grow and get where I want it to get. It's fun."

This isn't your first time back in the Smith Center, but being back here, what are some of the memories that come to mind?

"Obviously, it brings back a lot of memories. Every time I come here, I get like a warm, fuzzy feeling. I enjoyed it so much when I was here, and it was a blessing to play on this court and play for Coach Williams. For me, it's always a sense of — I don't know how I would put it — a sense of safeness. But it's always fun to come here."

Coby White Q&A: Chicago Bulls Guard Visits Chapel Hill After Career Year (3)

You’ve been in Chicago since 2019. You had a career year this season and were in the running for Most Improved Player. What do you feel allowed you to grow comfortable there and have the season that you had?

"I think I just got more of an opportunity to take advantage of. Over the summer, Coach (Billy) Donovan came to me and told me he believed in me and he had confidence in me. That meant the world to me. He believed in me, and he's continued to coach me and push me to be the player I'm forcing him to play and that I want to become. He's always said he's not going to stop coaching me until I become what I want to become."

What lessons did you learn at North Carolina that allowed you to find success at the NBA level?

"I think for me, the best thing that Coach Williams taught me while I was here was professionalism, how to approach the game. We wore a suit to every game. He was on me every day. The first thing he told me was, 'The greats do it every day.'

"I think in the sense of professionalism and preparation for my career, I learned a lot from how Coach Williams not only coached us when he was here, but also treated us as men. Him being a leader of men, he just taught us what it was like to be professional and how to get prepared for that."

Coby White Q&A: Chicago Bulls Guard Visits Chapel Hill After Career Year (2024)
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