RALEIGH, N.C. – Coming into the season, Greenfield School (Wilson, N.C.) point guard Coby White had three primary goals: Win a state title, become North Carolina’s all-time leading scorer and make the McDonald’s All American Game.
To keep him motivated on the task at hand, White’s brother Will White called him Tuesday night and told him about the first name on Kendrick Williams’ guest list for Wednesday night’s game at the John Wall Family Foundation Holiday Invitational.
Williams, a longtime family friend who’s known Coby since he was 3 years old, listed Coby’s father Donald White as his No. 1 guest.
Coby lost Donald to cancer on August 15.
“Oh man that meant a lot to me,” Coby said. “I have already dedicated the season to my dad and he and my mom are my biggest fans. I know he’s here with me that was just a reminder. It got me hype.”
White parlayed that emotion into 46 points in an 85-63 win over Kinston (N.C.).
That tied him with Penny Hardaway for fourth most points in a game all-time in the tournament’s history.
He said Wednesday’s energetic, capacity crowd would’ve been “the perfect atmosphere for my dad.”
“He loved games like this, where there’s a big crowd and they’re really into the game,” said White, who signed with North Carolina last month. “He was a character so he would’ve gotten into it. He just loved to see me play. I definitely thought about that tonight. He’s what’s been driving me all season.”
That motivation has translated into 32 points per game this season, White’s highest average of his career.
“He’s the best guard in the country,” Greenfield coach Rob Salter said. “What you guys don’t see is the work he puts into it. He’s relentless.”
As it stands, White has 2,941 points and needs 367 more to break JamesOn Curry’s 2004 record of 3,307. White has roughly 20 games left to play this season.
As for the McDonald’s All American Game, as the No. 25 player in the ESPN 100, White is expected to be in serious contention to make the roster in March.
That list will be revealed in January.
“That’s something that I really want,” White said. “Just with me dedicating the season to my dad, I know that’s the perfect way to end it. I think the best way to achieve that is to win. That’s the only thing I have control over. I know I’ve got my dad with me regardless, the list was the perfect reminder.”
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