Coby White was becoming too good, so Roy Williams went to see Cole Anthony and fell in love
CHARLOTTE — The more Roy Williams watched Coby White, the more he knew he had a serious problem brewing.
He knew his incoming point guard was good, but eventually, he realized that White was so good, North Carolina was going to be without a player at its most important position in the future.
“The last year I recruited Coby, I just thought Coby White better than everybody ever thought he was,” he said “I thought Coby was going to be sensational and so because I thought Coby was going to be sensational, I said, ‘Guys we’d better look for another point guard because this dude is not going to be here.’”
It was after White’s junior season that Williams was nearly certain that he’d need another starting point guard much sooner than he’d originally imagined, with his pursuit of Cole Anthony beginning seriously in the Spring of 2017.
Williams had seen Anthony play his freshman season and it took him exactly one trip that spring to realize he was his kind of guy.
“The first thing that got me is he dove on the floor, he took a charge, he rebounded the ball,” Williams said.
And that’s precisely the player that showed up in Chapel Hill this summer, quickly establishing himself as a leader for the Tar Heels despite having not even played in a game yet.
“He makes the right plays,” junior Garrison Brooks said. “He’s been working hard – one of the hardest workers I’ve seen.
Anthony isn’t afraid to speak up in practice, and while that might normally draw some raised eyebrows from experienced teammates, he’s done enough to earn that right through his offseason strength work and conditioning.
Williams pointed out that Anthony makes an effort to win every running drill and took home the title in the 12-minute run.
On the day the Carolina staff tries to “hurt ‘em” in running drills, Anthony again won, and when five guys didn’t make required times, he went out and joined those teammates and helped push them along to the finish.
Leadership is expected at point guard, but to this point, Anthony has shown something that can’t be taught.
“He’s got some leadership qualities there that are very natural,” Williams said. “He’s got those characteristics and doing the little things that make his teammates really respect him.”