Rodney Williams, Tarik Black

Recruiting: What Could Tarik Black Bring to Minnesota?

April 14, 2013
Recruiting: What Could Tarik Black Bring to Minnesota?

Memphis junior Tarik Black elected to play for his home town Tigers, but he’s no stranger to the Midwest. In high school, Black made a couple of trips to Milwaukee and in the fall 2009 it appeared that he may be a Marquette lean before ultimately committing to Memphis.

After three years with Memphis, Black is on the move for his final year of eligibility. If he’s accepted into a graduate program at his new school he should be immediately eligible to play. [Note: In an interesting Educational Column published on April 11, 2013, the NCAA clarified that a student-athlete need not receive a baccalaureate degree in order to be eligible under the graduate student one-time transfer exception.]

Minnesota’s chances seem at least fair even though numerous schools have expressed interest in obtaining Black’s services for the 2013-14 season. If Tarik places a high value on the opportunity to be a difference maker and play big minutes, Richard Pitino’s team should receive consideration.

Minnesota needs help at power forward. The Gophers return three starting guards but lose their senior forwards Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams. There are many possibilities, but not many better than Tarik Black.

Betting on Black: A Closer Look at Tarik Black:

  • Ranked #59 in the 2010 RSCI
  • Played AAU with Memphis Magic. Gopher junior-to-be Dre Hollins joined the Magic after his junior year, thus missing Black by one year. However, the two shared several teammates.
  • Despite walking out of a practice in November, he’s regarded by many as a good leader and we believe that to be a fair assessment.
  • Was a starter before the walk out, but came off the bench for the remainder of the year.
  • Dealt with a groin injury in late December / early January and missed three games.

Selected Basic Statistics by Year:

Season Min / Game Points / Game Rebounds / Game
Junior 20.8 8.1 4.8
Sophomore 25.6 10.7 4.9
Freshman 22.6 9.1 5.0

Black has been inconsistent and hasn’t realized his full potential on the court. A change in scenery may prove good for him.

At a minimum he would provide the Gophers with physicality. With the loss of Mbakwe there isn’t much to speak of when it comes to physical interior players currently in the program. In addition to providing a 6’9″, 260 pound presence inside, there are many matches when comparing areas of need in 2013-14 and the abilities of Black.Shop for 2013 Louisville Cardinals National Champions gear at FansEdge!

2-point field goal shooting
The Gophers didn’t shoot the ball well in 2012-13. Tarik isn’t a guy with incredible post moves or much range, but he can deliver the ball to the bottom of the net with great efficiency when at the rim. See the video at the end of this article to see him (almost – he was called for a charge- good call?) finishing against the Gophers.

Minnesota – 2012-13 2FGM 2FGA 2FG%
Mbakwe & Williams 238 438 54.3%
All others 393 854 46.0%
Team totals 631 1,292 48.8%

Gophers other than Mbakwe & Williams shot just 46.0% 2FG. Other forwards and centers – Eliason, Walker, Osenieks and Ingram – combined to shoot just 44.4% 2FG in 2012-13.

Tarik Black’s career 2FG% is an impressive 60.0% (that’s also his eFG% as he does not shoot 3-pointers). His mark of 68.9% eFG in 2011-12 was the NCAA’s second best (of players averaging 24 mpg or more).

The best thing about the Gophers’ offense this season was their work on the offensive glass. Mbakwe (~16%) was excellent and Williams (9.4%) was solid, but their three starting guards combined may have a ceiling of only 16% combined (less than 14% this season).

Maurice Walker can create second chances and Eliason is tall, but the Gophers need help here.

Tarik posted an OR% of more than 14% as a freshman and was just over 10% in each of the past two season. He’s not likely to reach Mbakwe-like levels, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect  11-13% out of him if he played with Minnesota next season.

Mbakwe’s defensive rebounding (24%) will also be missed and won’t be replaced by any individual. However, more time for Eliason (20%) will help. In addition, the replacement minutes for Williams (11%) should produce better results.

After averaging approximately 11.5% DR in his first two seasons, Black posted a 16.0% DR% this year. Still, he was inconsistent and we believe there is upside even to this figure.

Free throw rate
Andre Hollins is the only returning regular who got to the line a good amount last season. Overall, Minnesota did a nice job of earning free throw attempts but that was in large part due to Mbakwe and Williams.

Black can help soften the impact of losing the seniors. He drew 5.2 fouls per 40 minutes last year and enjoys mixing it up down low. His free throw percentage of 44.8% was miserable, but don’t sweat it too much. We believe he’s closer to being a 60% free throw shooter. Sixty percent might sound low, but on two attempts that still gets you a desirable 1.2 points per possession.

There are reasonable questions to have on Tarik Black. How well can he rebound? Will he foul out 10 minutes into every game (6.3 fouls called / 40 minutes as a junior)? Can he be a great shot blocker (~6.5% block% in first two years dropped to ~3% as a junior)? There’s upside to both his offensive and defensive game – can he realize it at Minnesota?

Tarik Black isn’t a surefire savior. Nonetheless, we believe bringing him in would be a no-brainer for Minnesota if he was open to it. His skills, leadership abilities and experience combined with new scenery (but some familiar faces) might be the recipe for heightened success as a senior. At a minimum, you’ve got one tough young man on your roster at a position of need.

In the video below Tarik comes off a pick, receives the pass and jams it home.. (all for naught as Minnesota’s Andre Ingram takes the charge, but an impressive display by Black).

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Memphis Tigers Nike Royal Replica Basketball Jersey

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