Coby White: Tools
Our scouting grades represent the composite opinion of at least three different scouts. Each category is graded based on how we view a player’s current ability level relative to NBA players at the same position (guard, wing, forward or big). A grade of 1 indicates replacement level, a grade of 5 indicates NBA average, and a grade of 10 indicates historically elite. Our composite scouting notes help provide context for our grades.
Anyone who has watched North Carolina this season, and especially over the second half, has seen Coby White terrorize opponents in transition. He is lightning quick in the open court and his top-end speed with the ball is elite. He has long legs and long strides, enabling him to fly down the court when unobstructed. His lack of strength is limiting in the half court, where he struggles to burst past a well-positioned opponent because of how easily he’s pushed off his spot. Improving his strength will help him attack off the dribble in the half court, as well as help him defensively when there is frequent starting and stopping.
Physically White has good-not-great agility, with lateral quickness that he can apply on offense dribbling in traffic and on defense staying in front of lead guards. His lack of strength can limit him here as well, and his poor positioning and average feet can make him seem slower than what he really is. Currently uses his length to try and impact a play defensively, where down the line solid coaching and increased strength should allow him to make more of a direct impact.
It would be fair to describe White as an above average leaper when driving to the hoop. He is able to maintain control in the air while moving at a high velocity. He lacks explosion as a leaper, and is more of an outward rather than upward leaper. The higher-end applications of leaping—such as cramming alley-oop passes or weak side shot-blocking—will likely not be a part of his game at the next level.
When attacking the rim White displays impressive body control to allow him to finish at a high percentage, slithering around defenders, but his lack of core strength means he does not absorb contact as well as he could. On defense he can slide his feet well but is prone to quick-twitch overreactions that take him out of position. His foul rate is slightly high relative to the amount of events he generates, a product of his body not being in position.
The biggest physical red flag that will continue to rear its head in the pre-draft process and beyond is White’s lack of length. He stands at 6’5” which is tall for a lead guard, but his short arms (6’3” wingspan) don’t allow him to apply that height as well. His strength is decent for a teenager but will put him at a disadvantage to start in the NBA, but wide hips and shoulders suggest he should be able to add muscle without losing quickness. His upper body strength is solid, but his core and lower body will need work, although the improvement will likely be measured in when, not if.