Chicago Bulls rookie point guard Coby White has referred to Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul as a “mentor” and a “big brother,” with White playing for Paul’s AAU team and a relationship that dates well before White arrived in the NBA. On Tuesday evening, White enjoyed a standout performance, scoring 35 points, and while the Bulls fell just short of an upset victory over the playoff-bound Thunder, Paul was sufficiently impressed with the performance from the rookie, calling it “surreal.”
Chris Paul told his mentee Coby White he wouldn’t score 33 tonight, but he went for 35. Paul still calls it “surreal” to see him in the NBA after he played for his AAU team. “I watch him play just about every time we don’t play so I’m happy to see him doing well,” Paul said. pic.twitter.com/cEaySzYmIm
— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) February 26, 2020
Paul telling White that he wouldn’t score 33 points refers back to the former North Carolina star posting back-to-back 33-point efforts against the Kings and Wizards this week. With White exceeding that 33-point mark with 35 points on 13-for-21 shooting and 6-for-9 from three against Oklahoma City, he also made NBA history as the first rookie to ever reach the 30-point threshold in three straight games while operating in a reserve role.
Though Zach LaVine actually led Chicago in scoring with 41 points, White’s 35-point eruption served as a career-best for the No. 7 overall pick, with plenty of highlights along the way.
Scoring 33 points or more in three straight games under any circumstances is impressive for a rookie, but White played 34 minutes or less in all three contests and he was scorching hot from an efficiency perspective. Paul did his own damage, scoring 19 points and dishing out nine assists in what became a 124-122 win, but White’s showing certainly leaps off the page after examination. In the end, it was a cool moment and White snuck into the record books in front of a future Hall of Fame mentor.