White can't wait to play again, even if it's at Bulls minicamp

  • The Bulls' Coby White attempts to dunk against the Dallas Mavericks' Maxi Kleber in a March game at the United Center.

    The Bulls' Coby White attempts to dunk against the Dallas Mavericks' Maxi Kleber in a March game at the United Center. Associated Press

Updated 9/16/2020 1:05 PM

The frustration of missing the playoffs, having the season cut off just as he was finding his groove, the Bulls being left out of the Orlando bubble -- those are things Coby White can deal with.

Not being able to play basketball, that's been rough. White has been shooting hoops and working on individual skill development at the Advocate Center for a few months.


But until the pandemic hit, there was always an opportunity to play ball, whether it was in a summer league or pickup game in the park. For a basketball junkie like White, that's an empty feeling.

"Not playing a (real NBA) game, I can wait on that," White said Wednesday. "But my frustration is not being able to hoop at all, so like not being able to play five-on-five and get up and down and use all the stuff that you've been working on in workouts and stuff like that. So that's just my frustration."

White, who was named to the NBA's all-rookie second team Tuesday, will get a short respite for the next two weeks. The Bulls have begun their three-week minicamp at the Advocate Center.

The first week is more of the same, no-contact individual work. But starting next week, they'll be able to do full practices and scrimmage against teammates.

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"For a lot of us basketball is our therapy," White said. "So for us it'll be good to just get back with our brothers on the court and hooping again and having fun. A lot of us, I feel like, are really looking forward to it."

Since the Bulls are currently without a head coach, practices are expected to be run by the assistants who stayed on the job when Jim Boylen was fired on Aug. 14 -- Chris Fleming, Roy Rogers, Nate Loenser, Karen Stack and others.

There was never an expectation the Bulls would have a head coach in place before this camp. One of their main candidates, Denver assistant Wes Unseld Jr., just moved onto the Western Conference finals.

White had nice things to say about Boylen, who stayed on the job four months after the Bulls hired new vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.


"I can't speak on behalf of the rest of the team, but I was kind of surprised," White said of Boylen's firing. "I really didn't see it coming. Jim, I give him all the credit. He was a great coach when he was here. We're excited to see change, but taking nothing away from him. This season, he helped me out a lot and I can't thank him enough."

White's rookie season ended on a high note. Over the final nine games, he averaged 26.1 points and 4.4 assists, while shooting 48 percent from the field. His first start of the season came in the final game the Bulls played on Mar. 10 against Cleveland.

There's no telling when the next NBA season will begin. The bubble has been a success, but the league is not interested in playing an entire season in a bubble. Already, the draft has been pushed back to Nov. 18. So the Bulls may not play another game until 2021.

"Like I've always said, take it day-by-day, don't try to look to the future," White said. "The future, you can't control what happens."

It is a tough spot to be in, coming off a disappointing season, not sure when the next one will begin. But the Bulls made their own bed by choosing a prolonged rebuild in 2017. White tried to look at what's next for the team.

"We're not going to put a label on the season like we're going to make the playoffs," he said. "I think we're just going to try to win more games than we did last season and try to build.

"This isn't something that I feel like is going to happen overnight. We've all got to keep growing. We've all got to keep grinding. And just try to win games. At the end of the day, that's all you can do."

Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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