Given that he scored 23 points in just shy of 25 minutes, it makes sense that Zach LaVine most efficiently summarized Coby White as the Bulls’ preseason concluded with Thursday’s victory over the Hawks.
“He’s going to be special,” LaVine said. “He knows it. We know it.”
It certainly looked that way as White overwhelmed the Hawks with 29 points on 10-for-14 shooting, including six 3-pointers. It should be noted the Hawks were finishing three games in four nights and didn’t play their regulars heavy minutes.
But the way White approaches each game, it may not matter.
“I think he’s had one of the best rookie camps I’ve seen,” LaVine said. “We know he can shoot and score but the way he has handled himself, he has been aggressive and playing his game. He can shoot, space the floor and score. It’s going to help us so much.
“You can put him in anywhere. He’s going to get the job done. He’s fearless, not scared of anything, not scared of the moment. I talk to him all the time and say, ‘Keep going.’”
Given his work ethic, it sounds like White will. His late-night shooting sessions at the Advocate Center with his older brother, Will, who played Division II college hoops, already have drawn notice throughout the organization.
“What he does is he works,” coach Jim Boylen said. “He hasn’t missed any practice time. He’s in the facility at night. When I’m in there at 8 p.m., he’s in there shooting with his brother, Will, after practice. He puts the extra time in. He cares.”
This approach is why White so easily buried his nightmarish 3-for-30 3-point shooting from NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Granted, this is still preseason. But by averaging 19.2 points on 45.5 percent shooting, including 43.2 percent 3-point shooting, White looks ready to roll come regular-season time.
“I knew he was going to come into this league and do exactly what he’s doing now,” Wendell Carter Jr. said.
Keep in mind that it’s not easy for a Duke product to compliment a North Carolina one.
White is taking it all in stride.
“It’s satisfying, but I still can’t lose that hunger to get better and continue to grind,” he said. “It’s only going to get harder.
“I knew it was a process. I just got drafted. I’m playing against NBA players. Everything’s not going to be perfect. You’re going to face a lot of adversity your rookie year. It started for me at summer league. As long as I just keep being me, which is staying in the gym and getting reps and control what I can control, everything will work itself out."