KU Sports - Oct 27: KU newcomer Tarik Black a big animated guy

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    “I don’t know. I’ve always been kind of a subtle guy, not too extravagant, not too flamboyant, at the same time I always liked being a high-caliber person,” Black said. “That’s how Kansas is. It’s not on everybody’s radar. You have to respect Kansas. Kansas will always be one of the top teams in the country, no matter what. Especially with coach Self at the helm, because no matter what, they’ll be at the top. I like that. Coming to a program like this, there’s the humbleness, but also the expectancy of greatness. Put that together, and it’s perfect for me.”

  • I believe that Tarik will be absolutely Huge for our Jayhawks this year.

  • The Tarik Black deal is interesting. Memphis fans have commented that he looked the part, practiced well, but then didn’t perform come game time. Is this one of those players that we, as Kansas fans, have become giddy about simply because he wears a KU uniform? We are prone to that, you know.

    Questions do surround Black. The guy only played 20 minutes per game last season, which was less than he played either his freshman or sophomore seasons. Something was amiss.

    I looked at his stats … Question: Who is the better rebounder, Tarik Black or Kevin Young? Right, I wouldn’t ask the question if Black was the answer. In Black’s three season, he averaged .212 rebounds per minute played. Young averaged .284 per minute played in his two seasons. Black’s best rebounding season (.231) did not eclipse Young’s worst (.263). As another comparison, Traylor has .213 rebounds per minute played last season vs. Black’s .212 career. For the monster comparison, TRob was at .372 his final season.

    The most astonishing stat to me was that for his three year career, Black had just 32 assists … in three full seasons! Unbelievable. In his sophomore season where he played his most minutes (895) he had a mere 6 assists. His career assist to minutes played is .013. Young was .052.

    At .013 assists per minute played, you would almost have to be trying NOT to pass. It is really an unbelievable stat. I kind of felt that TRob had a tough time passing out of double teams at time … he had 72 assists in his final season. Withey and 29 and 35 in his final two seasons. Aldrich 31 his final season. Something to watch.

    As far as points go, Black scored .403 points per minute played in his three seasons. KY .326. So Black scored at a better rate. And Black was a way better shot blocker based on his first two seasons than KY, though last season they both had 20 blocks (and KY had less minutes).

    The point being, really, is Tarik Black better than Kevin Young? Are we getting a significantly better player, one that is marginally better, or a push?

    All reports seem positive. But the leadership comments, etc., could as easily be attributed to KY last season, right? Positive, helping younger guys, energetic, etc.

    When I see the low assist rate, I think of a black hole in the post. Or a guy with no court vision. It is something to keep an eye on. What does he do when he gets the ball on the block?

    And the rebound rate is pretty concerning. I have never felt that Traylor has a feel for rebounding. Seemed to oddly be in the wrong spots many times. But his rate was on par with Black. We need Black to grab boards.

    With Ellis not the most aggressive personality, Embiid a freshman with little experience, and Black having the low rebound rates, perhaps rebounding from our post players could be an area of concern.

    I don’t know what to expect from Black. All reports have been positive. But if Black can’t rebound the ball at least at a KY rate, Embiid may take a bigger share of minutes.

  • Nice analysis HEM. If Lucas can emerge as a rebounding specialist this leads me to think he could still crack the rotation.

  • I’ve been wondering the same thing, HEM. Our high expectations certainly can lead to disappointment (see KU football), and I’m a wee bit concerned about Wiggins for the same reason…those expectations are out the roof.

    What Black brings is some experience. I’d be pretty happy if he’s a push with Young, overall (better scoring, fewer rebounds & assists). I’m hoping he starts out decently, and by the end of the season one of our young bigs will have gained enough experience to blossom and take Black’s starting spot. Or if Black turns into a superstar, I’d take that too!

  • HEM, A great read. This is something I will be watching.

  • HEM, you always bring game. Excellent post!

    You really threw a curve ball. Who would have thought to compare Black with Young? But that comparison should be made because both are post players. I do believe there is a difference though between a 4 and a 5. Under Self, for the most part I expect our 5s to never stray far from the basket. They represent the rottweiler guarding the yard; the largest animal you can find to own space and guard the property. As such, you want to leash the beast near what he’s guarding. I don’t ever expect Black to play far from the basket. Sometimes Young showed he shouldn’t have been out of the yard, too, even though he was a 4, someone you want to prowl around the perimeter.

    Thanks so much for bringing some stats into this. I had no idea of Black’s numbers.

    On one hand, those numbers depress me and question what Black will bring to this Jayhawk team. But on further thought, I’ve come to another conclusion. Black’s numbers express something else to me; that he wasn’t ever brought into the real team mix at Memphis. And that was a problem that bothered Black enough to become excited to transfer over to Kansas. And notice what player speaks the most about team play? What player will do anything he can to help this team, including offering himself up in a leadership role?

    I feel like Self found a rottweiler that had been abused. He was underfed and ignored at his old residence. He’s a hungry dog, and he wants to prove himself in his new yard.

    Those stats tell me that Pastner looked at Black like a lost cause. Black didn’t represent opportunity to help his team. When he received the ball in the low post it was never considered that he could have the ability to pass out of the post for an assist on the 3-pt line, so no plays were drawn up or practiced. Black was instructed to finish in the post, regardless of what the situation was. And they didn’t seem to want to feed it to him in the post in the first place. Black was abandoned by the concept of a team philosophy. Even a rottweiler needs some love.

    Black is doubtful of becoming a lottery pick next summer. But that isn’t to say he doesn’t have value to this team. Self praises what he brings to this team and how much of a steal he was in landing him. Self isn’t Calipari selling old Dodges. You can hold Self to his praises. I look at Black and I see another Darnell Jackson. He, like Darnell, is happy to let the attention go to the other side of the post… in this case, Perry Ellis instead of Darrell Arthur. Tar, like Darnell, is just happy to be on this team. Both players would sacrifice any part of their bodies for the common good of the team. Both players are happy to grind it out in the shadows of other players who have earned the spotlight. You have to have these players if you want to have quality depth and a team concept. You have to have these players if you want to make a real run at a National Championship. I don’t think we would have won in '08 without Jackson. I don’t think we’ll win in '13 without Black.

    With Black we have a player where we have nothing to lose and everything to win. If he doesn’t turn it around, he already had a track record proving what he was before landing in Lawrence. If he does turn it around, he will be a great recruiting story for future bigs considering Kansas.

    I’m in the category of those believing he will win! And in doing so, he will help Kansas basketball win! He was given this opportunity from an angel who was looking after him, and he’s not going to disappoint his guardian angel or the fans, team and coaches who have opened their arms to accept him.

  • There is something to be said about liking your surroundings. Because one has respect for their teammates and coaches, a person can excel in another place and time. I think Tarik knows this is his time and he’s been given the chance to prove it to himself. The fact that he is so well liked coming in new just says a lot.

  • Throw out the old stats! He’s now a Jayhawk, and he’s coach is Bill Self!

  • His coach is Bill Self!

  • HEM & slayer…Both great reads. Slayer I like your comparison to an abused dog. I believe Blacks stats at Memphis are an old story line for him with a new chapter to be written at KU.

  • Agree! Both post from HEM and slayr were very thought provoking.

    I do agree that there was something in Black that was not utilized at Memphis. I don’t think programs and the respective coach’s at Ohio State, Duke and KU would go after Black it there wasn’t something they saw that they could correct and use. But, I for one was maybe a little too giddy at the prospect of Black dominating this year in the post. The idea of a an improved Perry with a Trob by his side was too good of a idea to not indulge in. So in retrospect I did need to be brought down to the planetary surface. So in that aspect…thanks HEM.

  • The followups here really point out a strong theme … Black has more in the tank than perhaps came out at Memphis. He has nice moves in the post, a baby hook, gets up and down the floor nicely, and seems to provide a nice presence on defense.

    What do we need from him? 10 ppg, 8 boards, and to do what we discussed when Self inked him … provide some protection inside for Ellis. He may not be TRob as Case pointed out, but if he is Darnell Jackson as mentioned by slayr, we’ll all be very happy. That still might be a little high of a bar, but not a bad expectation.

    And it may be as simple as crimsonorblue said … coach Self is now his coach. He’ll be better.

  • And it will be nice to have some weight and muscle under the basket again. It seems like a long time since we had someone who could hold position and not get pushed under the basket.

  • When Coach Self complements a player it can be for a variety of reasons: to light a fire under another guy, to give a struggling guy confidence, etc. But, when Coach starts getting into specifics, you can usually take him at his word. The comment about Tarik being the best guy he has had here at sealing in the post is very encouraging (better than TRob? Simien?) If he can hold position as well as can be reasonably expected at his size, and if the lost weight translates into a higher vertical, then there is no reason Black cannot dominate the boards, or at least be a force blocking out allowing Perry, Wiggins, and the rest to clean up the rebounds.

  • Last year, as a junior, Black was a 2nd string Conference USA center who couldn’t make half his free throws. I don’t expect much. If that tiger can change his stripes, great. The Memphis-Xavier game from last year is still available on epsn3. It’s one of Black’s better games if you haven’t seen him play.

    What do we need from him? 25 mpg, trickling down to 15 mpg over the course of the season, 6 points, 4 rebounds, <2 fouls and <2 TO’s would be a bonus. Hopefully Embiid gets up to speed fast, because we’re going to miss Withey’s 7-foot presence more than Kevin Young’s energy.

  • I think we’ll see a lot more rebounding from our 2 and 3 spots this year. That should help offset what Withey and Young brought.

    In past years on defense, the guards were taught to funnel their man to the middle where Aldrich or Withey could block the shot. I wonder if that will remain the strategy this year?

  • @paris-don’t get beat on the perimeter 🙂

  • If nothing else he knows what its like to play at the d1 level. Hes a big body and can do some damage, at least against smaller opponents. At the very least he can give us some quality playing time while waiting for Embiid to transition to the world of college BBall.

  • Did we get Tarik before or after we got Wiggins? If it was before, would Self had brought him in ? If it was after, then Self, knowing his needs better than any of us, must have seen him playing a valuable role on this team.

    I like the stats posted. I’m a stat guy, they speak volumes. I like the sabermetric type stats that they’re bringing into play now, read Jesse’s comments for more.

    But will his intangibles, ie, a senior on a young team, make him more valuable than what we see on the stat sheet, which if he can fill it up at the same time, will be a bonus.

  • Nice post HEM. I love reading and learning hoops stats and your comparison of Tarik to Kev is fascinating. Giant fro not withstanding, Tarik should be able to give some 5th year senior experience to our rookies as well as provide close to 10ppg, 6-8 rpg, a couple assts and a block or two as well as all the down and dirty intangibles of a big his size. He will have matched my expectations. Maybe just maybe KU and Coach Self is what he needs for his last season of college hoops to be inspirational for him and for us fans.

  • It’s amazing what a young person can do when a coach gives him confidence. I never doubt what FOE means to these young men!

  • Andrew Wiggins committed on May 13th.

    Tarik Black committed on May 20th.

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