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Heel Tough Blog: Player Profile- Leaky Black

Jamie Schwaberow- Getty Images

The Tar Heel Core Four is rounded out by a versatile 6’9 graduate senior who leads the charge for the team on the defensive end of the floor. Leaky Black was a major part of the team’s success on last year’s run to the National Final, locking down leading scorer after leading scorer along the way.

Black was seen as a big splash in the 2018 class alongside Coby White, who he played alongside on the Nike EYBL cycle. That followed a strong prep career while splitting time between three schools, including a junior year stint at national powerhouse Montverde Academy. He spent his senior season at Cox Mill High School in Concord, NC where he averaged 13.4 point per game, 5.7 rebounds per game and 3.2 steals while helping lead them to the 3A state title and being named the team’s defensive MVP.

After playing a deeper bench role as a freshman, Black earned a role as a starter ahead of his sophomore season. He started 31 of the 32 games, averaging a career-high 6.5 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game and 2.6 assists per game while shooting just 35.9% from the field. The potential that he showed, especially late in that 2019-20, set the table for major expectations heading into his junior season with many around the program jumping on the “Leaky Train”. Unfortunately, outside of some momentary flashes like his game-winning shot against Notre Dame, he did not live up to those expectations, especially on the offensive end of the floor.

Black had shown some nice things in his first three seasons on the defensive end of the floor, but he took things to the next level as a senior. It seemed like he accepted the fact that the team needed him to be that defensive force that could help to lockdown opponents' best player and it led to the most successful season of his career and a change in attitude from Tar Heel fans towards him as a player. Nothing better displayed that than the second half of the season, where Black showed that he could defend anywhere from the 4 to the 1. His performances from the regular season finale against Duke on was one of the best defensive stretches of any Tar Heel in recent memory, as he shut down names like A.J. Griffin, James Akinjo and tournament hero Doug Edert. His value was proven in the title game when got into foul trouble as Kansas made their second half push.

Black made the decision to come back for his extra year (given to all players who were roster during the 2020-21 season) almost immediately after the season concluded with one goal in mind. He will help lead the charge once again defensively as the Tar Heels search for their eighth title.

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