Physicality is here to stay for guard Coby White — Bull or no Bull

White spent the offseason building up his body, as well as studying the art of physicality from Alex Caruso, and the result has been seen on both ends of the floor

SHARE Physicality is here to stay for guard Coby White — Bull or no Bull
Coby White

Bulls guard Coby White spent the offseason working on - and studying - the art of physicality. Thank Alex Caruso.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

HOUSTON — Coby White has figured out the business of basketball.

If the guard was unsure, he got an up-close-and-personal lesson just before the start of the season when the Bulls opted not to give him an extension off his rookie deal, allowing him to become a restricted free agent this summer.

Did it sting? Not really, considering all of the unknowns the organization faces this offseason. So White is just going to ride it out and see where it takes him.

“I just wanted to take steps this year and prove that I could do things that people thought I couldn’t do,’’ White said. “But with all that said, you just never know in this league, this business. You never know what’s really going on. So I just have to keep the mindset of keep it steady, keep it consistent, and hopefully everything will take care of itself.’’

That’s not a bad philosophy to have, especially when there’s a good chance that the Bulls may have to choose between keeping White or Ayo Dosunmu.

One thing is for sure, and that’s that White has changed his game in Year 4.

Adding muscle last summer was the starting point, but he also put in the work. His court vision is better, and most notably, his physicality has increased on both ends of the floor, and that was not seen when he came out of North Carolina as the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 draft or in his first three years as a Bull.

Call it the Alex Caruso Effect.

“I think there’s a few things,’’ White said. “I worked on my body a lot in the offseason, but also I talk to AC [Caruso] a lot, both during the offseason and then since the season started, throughout this year, just about what you can get away with, knowing when you can be physical, knowing when you shouldn’t be. I’ve talked to him a ton about that . . . see what you can get away with. I’m starting to use that to my advantage, and just getting the experience to do that has been a major factor.’’

Not just on the defensive end, either. Even when White’s going to the rim, he looks to make contact rather than avoid it.

He might not be getting all the and-ones he feels he has deserved, but his hope is that’s part of the process.

“It’s all part of the same thing, being physical on both ends of the court, and then this just being my fourth year, learning, being an open book to everything that comes my way,’’ White said. “But also taking what you learn to the game.’’

Point of interest

Coach Billy Donovan is no stranger to having to discuss the future of injured guard Lonzo Ball, especially since it has been a topic since January 2022. With Ball possibly headed for a third surgery on his left knee, Donovan was asked if the organization would have to look at the point-guard position this summer even though Ball is signed for two more seasons?

“I do think the front office, ownership, will sit down after [Ball’s] decision is made, look at a timetable of how long this rehab and recovery will be, and then make decisions from there on what are the expectations of him coming back, what will the length of the rehab look like, how much more time he’ll miss?’’ Donovan said. “I think that will be a conversation we would all have at the end of the year.’’

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