5 Best UNC Basketball Alumni in the NBA in 2024

As usual, a few Tar Heels are playing at a very high level in the NBA this season. Here are the top performers.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3

2- Cam Johnson

Johnson is the only player on this list to play every year of his college eligibility. After starting his college career in Pittsburgh, Johnson transferred to North Carolina after graduating in three years. He played two more seasons with the Tar Heels because he had redshirted a year earlier. His story in North Carolina is a true developmental success story.

In his final season at UNC, Johnson blossomed into one of the best shooters in the country, hitting 45.7 percent of his three-pointers and averaging 16.9 points per game. He famously scored 26 points in Cameron Indoor Stadium to help beat the top-ranked Duke team.

After that performance, Johnson darted up the big boards in the 2019 NBA Draft and was selected 11th overall by the Phoenix Suns. This was a polarizing decision at the time and was considered a reach by the Suns because Johnson was an older, lower-ceiling prospect.

Yet, this gamble paid off. Johnson was a very valuable piece in the Suns’ run to the NBA Finals in 2021 and was a key asset in the trade that landed them Kevin Durant after.

Johnson is currently with the Brooklyn Nets and is considered one of the best shooting forwards in the league. He is a career 39.4% three-point shooter.

1- Coby White

As recently as last year, Coby White being included on this list would have been crazy. White was considered a bust after the first four seasons of his NBA career was largely underwhelming. At the beginning of the 2023-24 season, White signed a three-year, $36 million contract extension with the Chicago Bulls and that now looks like one of the best deals in the league.

The 24-year-old North Carolina native has completely burst onto the scene this season. After being utilized as a backup combo guard the past two seasons in Chicago, he has taken over as the full-time starting point guard this year and performed admirably.

White played in every single game this season and currently leads the NBA in minutes played. He is averaging career-highs across the board with 19.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. He can create his own shot, make shots off the dribble, play off the ball when needed, and create good looks for his teammates. He is a very well-rounded offensive player who has arguably been the best player on the Chicago Bulls this season.

One of the leading candidates for the Most Improved Player award this season, White has a chance to take his career to the next level and potentially make All-Star teams in the future. 

More UNC news and rumors: