Bulls address point guard problem after drafting UNC’s Coby White
After a longer than expected wait, UNC’s Nassir Little was selected by the Portland Trailblazers with the 25th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
Cameron Johnson, who had been projected to go late in the first round, went No. 11 overall. The No. 11 pick belonged to Minnesota, but due to a trade, the UNC guard will head to the Phoenix Suns.
Little and Johnson join Coby White as former Tar Heels selected in this draft. White was selected by the Chicago Bulls — the youngest team in the NBA — with pick No. 7.
Round 1, Pick 7 to the Chicago Bulls
Coby White, UNC’s starting point guard last season, went seventh in this year’s draft.
White put together a noteworthy year, furnishing the engine to the Tar Heels’ fast pace. He averaged 16.1 points and 4.1 assists per game — and broke UNC’s record in 3-point makes by a freshman.
He’s the first Tar Heel to be picked in the first round by the Bulls since Michael Jordan in 1984. White is the highest pick in the NBA Draft from UNC since Harrison Barnes was selected with the seventh pick by Golden State in 2012.
In his post-pick interview, White explained what his late father would have said to him if he was in attendance when White heard his name.
“He’d be super excited for me,” White said. “But (he’d say,) ‘this is just the beginning for you.’”
Round 1, Pick 11 to the Phoenix Suns
Cameron Johnson, a graduate student last season who transferred from Pittsburgh, is heading to Phoenix. In his final year of eligibility at UNC, Johnson averaged 5.8 rebounds and 16.9 points on 50.6 percent shooting from the field.
The guard going early in the draft reflects his unpredictable success in college — prevailing through changing schools and injury.
Round 1, Pick 25 to the Portland Trailblazer
Nassir Little — UNC’s 6-6, 220-pound athletic wing last season — was selected by the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday. Little came into college highly-touted, and was expected to be a lottery pick out of high school. Little averaged 9.8 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field in his one season at North Carolina.
This is the fourth time in the Roy Williams era that at least three Tar Heels were selected in the NBA draft’s first round. Little’s selection is the 52nd Tar Heel taken in the first round — which is an NCAA record.
During the NBA Combine, the wing told reporters that he struggled as a college player because he didn’t fully understand his role on the team. But he still showed shades of impressive ability in his lone season as a Tar Heel.