Stilman White, the reserve point guard who played a leading role for North Carolina in the NCAA tournament two years ago, is returning to the team after spending parts of the past two years on a Mormon mission.
White went from seldom-used reserve to starting point guard during the 2012 NCAA tournament. Kendall Marshall, who rewrote UNC’s assists records, suffered a broken wrist during the Tar Heels’ second NCAA tournament game that season, and White started UNC’s final two games of the season.
He helped the Tar Heels to a victory against Ohio in a regional semifinal and then scored four points and had seven assists and no turnovers during UNC’s loss against Kansas in the South regional final. During his two tournament starts, White finished with 13 assists and no turnovers.
UNC coach Roy Williams said in a statement that he was “glad” to have White back in school and back on the team.
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“He had to make his first two collegiate starts in the middle of the NCAA Tournament and performed well,” Williams said. “He has not played much basketball the last two years and is coming off an ankle injury so he has some work to do to catch up. But he will give us additional experience and depth in the backcourt.”
White became a starter amid some dire circumstances two years ago. There was Marshall’s wrist injury. And then, months before that, the season-ending knee injury that Dexter Strickland suffered. Strickland started at shooting guard but also served as Marshall’s backup.
After White was forced into a starting role, Williams said he’d never again be caught with suspect point guard depth. That shouldn’t be an issue next season. The Tar Heels are expected to start the season with five point guards: including returnees Marcus Paige, Nate Britt and Luke Davis and Joel Berry, an incoming recruit from Apopka, Fla.
Paige, an All-American and ACC Player of the Year candidate, could enter the season as the starter at either point guard or shooting guard, where he started for most of last season.