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It’s two down and one to go for Greenfield School’s Coby White.
The Knights senior and Goldsboro native came a little closer to realizing the second of his preseason accomplishments Wednesday. In front of a school assembly in the Greenfield gym, he was presented a replica of the jersey the North Carolina signee will wear in the McDonald’s All-American Game on March 28 in Atlanta.
“It’s a real big deal for me and to be the first player to do it out of Goldsboro, I think, is a big accomplishment,” said White, who is also the first player from a Wilson school to become a McDonald’s All-American.
White received his jersey from area representatives of the McDonald’s corporation in front of a crowd that included his mother, Bonita, and brother Will.
During his remarks, the 6-foot-4 guard — a five-star recruit who is ranked No. 19 nationally in the class of 2018 — thanked a litany of people who helped him reach this stage, such as former youth coach Kendrick Williams, UNC head coach Roy Williams and his staff and Greenfield head coach Rob Salter.
“It was a special day for Coby, for Greenfield, for our basketball program and for Wilson, you know, because we’ve never seen this before,” Salter said. “He’s worked really hard to get to where he is and I’ve seen the blood, sweat and tears he’s put into it but also the team, too, and he made sure to give credit to his teammates.”
Williams started coaching White as an 8-year-old with the Garner Road Basketball Club in Raleigh and continued as his coach until two years ago when White joined the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League team CP3, sponsored by North Carolina native and NBA All-Star Chris Paul.
At the McDonald’s All-American Game, White will play on the East team along with Duke recruits R.J. Barrett of Montverde (Florida) Academy and Zion Williamson of Spartanburg (South Carolina) Day School. On the West roster are his future UNC teammate Nassir Little of Orlando (Florida) Christian Prep and Charlotte Providence Day star Devon Dotson, who is headed to Kansas.
The presentation of the McDonald’s All-American Game jersey was another highlight in a senior year littered with superlatives for White, who became the all-time scoring leader in North Carolina high school boys basketball history on Jan. 27 when he surpassed former Eastern Alamance High star JamesOn Curry, who scored 3,307 points in his career. That came on the heels of White establishing a new scoring record at the John Wall Invitational holiday tournament in Raleigh just after Christmas.
White, who now has 3,457 career points, is within reach of breaking his own state single-season scoring record of 1,069 that he set last year. White currently has 1,001 points this season with possibly two games left.
However, it’s personal glory or accomplishment that White wants the most — the last of his three goals entering this season.
“The other two goals I met, they were good, but the main one I wanted coming in was to win a state championship,” he said. “I’ve been contending for it ever since my freshman year and we get there every year, get to the final four but things just didn’t go our way. This year we feel like nobody can beat us.”
In the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A semifinals Friday at Calvary Day School in Winston-Salem, Greenfield (24-9), the No. 2 seed, will play No. 3 and defending champion The Burlington School (22-4). A win would put the Knights into Saturday’s championship game against either No. 1 Fayetteville Trinity Christian or No. 5 Charlotte United Faith Christian. Trinity Christian, which has ended Greenfield’s season the last two years, and the Knights split a pair of regular-season games. Greenfield defeated United Faith 81-80 way back on Nov. 21 in Wilson.
“We beat the other two teams on the other side,” White said of Trinity and United Faith. “All we’ve got to do is handle business Friday and come in and compete against Burlington. We know it’s going to be hard — they’re defending their state championship — but there’s no doubt in my mind that we can go in there and take care of business and dominate.”
Greenfield will be without sophomore starting forward Jacari Outlaw, who is injured, but the Knights have 6-6 wing Elijah McCadden, their only other senior and a Georgia Southern signee, along with sophomores Dji Bailey, Bryson Baker, Trey Pittman and Jahmi Foster, along with 6-8 junior Oliver Andreasen.
“We’ve got a chance to do something special,” White said. “As much as our team went through this year with adversity, to win a state championship would be great and the team worked so hard this year — we worked hard all season in practice every day — I just want to win.”
And that will be the cake for all the icing White already has.