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December 31, 2013

Could White return this season?

North Carolina has lost one scholarship player this season with the news that UNC wouldn't seek reinstatement for P.J. Hairston, but could it be that the Tar Heels get a guard to return to the team this season?

Stilman White, who was a key contributor for Carolina in the Midwest Regional as a freshman in 2011-2012 during the team's run to the Elite Eight, has returned from his Mormon Mission, and could be looking to return to Chapel Hill soon.

Tar Heel Illustrated asked UNC head coach Roy Williams specifically about White and his status following Tuesday evening's blowout win over UNC-Wilmington.

While Williams confirmed that White has returned from his Mission, he did not specify whether or not White would be returning to the UNC roster this season.

"It's really all up in the air right now because he just got in from his Mission," said Williams

Williams added that there's some kind of injury to White's foot that could limit his impact this season, not to mention the fact he hasn't played with the Tar Heels in nearly two years and the team doesn't have an available scholarship yet for him.

Even though Hairston wasn't reinstated, Williams indicated there wasn't a scholarship for White at the moment at UNC, although that would change next season.

"I think he (White) has some kind of injury to his foot. We don't have a scholarship right now," Williams said. "And so we're trying to go through the motions ourselves to try to find out (if he could play this season)."

While it might be somewhat disadvantageous to bring White back in mid-season and burning one of his seasons of eligibility (White will be a sophomore in terms of eligibility when he returns to action) there's little doubt that the Tar Heels could use his maturity and ball skills to shore up the depth in the backcourt.

"We're going to have conversations with Stilman. (UNC Basketball staff member) Eric Hoots already has had conversations with Stilman," said Coach Williams.

Right now the uncertainty of a possible injury, along with the lack of scholarship, increases the likelihood that White returns to the UNC roster in 2014-2015 with a full three years of playing eligibility left.
But the fact that he's back from his Mission and is fully intending to return to Chapel Hill and play for the Tar Heels is certainly noteworthy as UNC rings in the New Year.

"If it's hard for you to be on a mission because you have an injury, it seems to me it would be fairly hard to be a basketball player. I don't know what all goes on with that," said Williams.

"I haven't had any conversations (with White). Eric has had conversations. We're trying to find out and make sure that we're right in saying that we don't have a scholarship for him because we don't. But we're going to look into it and see what's best for our program and best for Stilman."

What appears clear is that there's going to be a place again for White at Carolina whenever they can work out the details.

"I love Stilman to death and feel that eventually he'll be back part of our basketball team. Whether it's this year or not, I don't know yet," said Williams.




 

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