Greenfield’s White named Gatorade Player of the Year for NC

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In what promises to be a busy offseason of collecting awards for Greenfield School junior Coby White, the 6-foot-5 point guard was announced Monday as the Gatorade North Carolina Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

White, who has committed to the University of North Carolina, is one of 51 winners from each state and the District of Columbia who are now finalists for the Gatorade National Player of the Year honor to be announced later this month.

“I was excited,” White said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon. “It was probably one of the best feelings I’ve had in a long time. At least since I committed.”

White joins a prestigious list of former N.C. Gatorade Players of the Year, including Bam Adebayo (2016), Dennis Smith Jr. (2015), Isaiah Hicks (2013), Reggie Bullock (2010), Chris Paul (2003), Shavlik Randolph (2002), Brendan Haywood (1997), Jerry Stackhouse (1992) and Rodney Rogers (1990). The award was first given in 1985.

White’s accomplishments on the court this past season were staggering. He set a state record — public and private school — for points scored with 1,069, eclipsing the mark of 1,057 set by Roxboro Community’s Darius McGhee in 2016. White averaged 31.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists as he helped the Knights reach the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A semifinals and a 23-11 record.

He even broke his own Greenfield record for points in a game with 52 and became the Knights’ all-time leading scorer last season. White, who is ranked as the No. 33 player nationally in the class of 2018 by ESPN, has scored more than 2,500 points in his career so far.

But the best part of his season was just being with his teammates, he said.

White has one more year to add to his growing list of achievements, including another Gatorade Player of the Year honor.

“Yes, sir, I hope I repeat and get that next year,” said White, who was the 1-A Coastal Plains Independents Conference Player of the Year and an NCISAA 1-A All-State selection for the second straight season.

The one item missing from his résumé, however, is a state title.

“Yes, sir. I think with a lot of hard work in the offseason we’ll do that next year,” he said.

The Gatorade honor is about more than statistics and awards as it recognizes “high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.” White has a 3.06 GPA and has volunteered by collecting Christmas toys for area foster children.

“This is the ultimate accomplishment for a player and an individual,” Greenfield head coach Rob Salter said. “What I love about it is that it’s about grades and character and he’s a special young man.”

As part of his award, White will receive a $1,000 grant that he can donate to a sports-based organization of his discretion. White said he hasn’t had time to consider to what group he will give the grant.

“Not yet,” he said. “I’m going to talk a little bit with my family tonight.”

Salter said White was overwhelmed when he broke the news to him Monday morning.

“It’s a great moment for him,” Salter said. "It’s a great moment for our program and a great moment for Greenfield.”

paul@wilsontimes.com | 265-7808