clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bulls rookie Coby White downplays his electric preseason

White didn’t get caught up in a shaky Summer League performance, in which he shot 3-for-30 from three-point range, so he’s not going to overreact to an eye-opening preseason.

Rookie guard Coby White’s first Summer League in Las Vegas was a nightmare.

His decision-making at point guard was questionable, and his three-point shooting was an atrocious 3-for-30.

The reaction from White and the Bulls at the time? It’s just the Summer League.

White’s first NBA preseason was a showcase.

His three-point shooting was a lethal 43.2 percent, and the speed he showed at North Carolina was often in evidence.

So what does White think about his first preseason?

‘‘I mean, it’s just preseason,’’ he said after a 29-point performance in the Bulls’ victory Thursday against the Hawks at the United Center.

That’s what coach Jim Boylen loves about White: He’s never satisfied.

By averaging 19.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in the preseason, White turned heads and seemingly justified being the No. 7 overall pick in the draft in June.

For Boylen, however, little has changed. The plan he and the coaching staff sketched out for White when camp started is the same one they’ll use to start the regular season: Come off the bench and turn it loose.

‘‘I think he’s in a good place,’’ Boylen said. ‘‘I think that second unit is starting to get a feel for each other. We’ll just keep building from there. There’s no definite plans to change anything. Let’s keep him going the way he’s going. Sometimes the best thing to do is to just leave it alone, just let it happen.’’

It has been happening for White, mostly off the ball (even though the Bulls insisted he was a point guard on draft day). His mindset is just to be a ‘‘baller,’’ as Boylen says.

That’s why there was no discussion between Boylen and White after White’s disappointing play in the Summer League.

‘‘I never brought it up to him one time,’’ Boylen said. ‘‘He works, and I think when you work, good things happen for you. I think he was frustrated with [the Summer League], but I didn’t have to talk to him. He knows he’s a better shooter than that. Sometimes a poor Summer League can be a positive thing for you, and he’s turned that into a positive things.’’

That has meant being one of the first players into the Advocate Center in the morning and one of the last ones to leave at night.

‘‘Well, what he does is he works,’’ Boylen said. ‘‘He hasn’t missed any practice time. When I’m in there at 8 o’clock at night, he’s in there shooting after practice — he and his brother, Will. He puts the extra time in; he cares. I think it’s a combination of him doing a great job and my assistant coaches doing a great job with him. He’s improved. His shot is more solid, and it looks good.’’

Not that White was concerned.

‘‘Nah, since I was in high school, I’ve scored the ball,’’ White said when asked whether his confidence was rattled after his struggles in the Summer League. ‘‘I’m just playing my game.

‘‘[The preseason was] satisfying, but I still can’t lose that hunger. I can’t lose that hunger to get better and continue to grind.’’