Most of the focus on the Carolina basketball team in the upcoming season will justifiably be centered on Marcus Paige, J.P. Tokoto and the incoming trio of highly touted freshman. But there’s a familiar name returning to the Tar Heel roster for another crack at some memorable moments.
Tar Heel fans everywhere remember the moment when a skinny high school-looking kid with a mop haircut and a bounce in his step was thrust center stage into the NCAA Tournament pressure cooker when point guard Kendall Marshall went down with an injury.
That’s the last time Stilman White dribbled a basketball in Carolina uniform – in a painful 80-67 loss to Kansas in the 2012 Elite Eight.
Well, he’s back. But Carolina faithful may struggle to recognize White this time around. He’s the scrawny little kid no more. While completing his obligatory two years as a Mormon missionary, White says he’s bulked up.
White gained weight while going door-to-door sharing his faith in his suit and tie during his mission service.
One thing is for sure. The scenery will look a little different from the last time White was in Chapel Hill. Luke Davis, Desmond Hubert and Jackson Simmons are the only remaining players from the 2011-2012 squad.
But White is getting acquainted with guys like Nate Britt, Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks as they attend summer school classes together.
The newly-minted “sophomore” says the biggest shock to the system upon his return is how fast everybody is. White, however, is determined to get back in shape and be 100-percent prepared for the season come November.
With so much new talent flooding through the Smith Center doors to join an already capable UNC team, exactly how much playing time White will see remains in doubt.
Nobody knows what’s in store for the matured White during the rest of his Carolina playing days, but it’s certainly another exciting storyline to keep an eye on in the coming months.