UNC Basketball 2018-19 Player Previews: Rechon Black

CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 08: The mascot of the North Carolina Tar Heels, Ramseys, during their game at the Dean Smith Center on February 8, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 08: The mascot of the North Carolina Tar Heels, Ramseys, during their game at the Dean Smith Center on February 8, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Rechon Black is ready to be whatever the Tar Heels need him to be, and his uncanny size could help him do just that

Coby White | Nassir Little

With less than two weeks until the start of the 2018-19 college basketball season, Keeping It Heel is going through its annual player previews, beginning with the Tar Heels’ talented freshman class.

With his best recruiting haul in years, Roy Williams signed a top-15 class that boasts a pair of five-star McDonald’s All-Americans and one of the most versatile guards in the country.

That guard, Rechon “Leaky” Black, is a 6-foot-8, 185-pound point guard whose body simply refused to stop growing. Now, with the skills of a point guard and the size of a power forward, Williams and company will have to decide how Black is best suited in the Tar Heels’ deep, talented roster.

That could be a nice problem to have, though, what with his terrific ball-handling skills and size that will likely create mismatches for every team on North Carolina’s schedule this season.

2017-18 Season in Review

Black battled a groin injury for the majority of his senior season at Cox Mill. Although it went undetected by his coaching staff until mid-way through the season, Black battled through the pain and discomfort in order to stay in the lineup. It did, however, impact his productivity and play-making abilities.

Despite the aforementioned, Black still managed to average 14 points, five assists and two blocks per game in route to a second consecutive North Carolina 3A state championship.

Aside from his time on the court and struggle to play through the pain, Black also dealt with the expectations, and sometimes ridicule, of being a future UNC basketball player.

From the moment he committed to North Carolina in January of 2016, everything changed for the then-sophomore hoops star. Sometimes he received admiration from fans and requests for autographs. Other times he faced hecklers and naysayers at his games.

What to expect in 2018-19?

Entering his freshman season at North Carolina, Black appears to be healthy and progressing nicely. Through two weeks of practice, Black’s versatility has already been lauded by his Hall-of-Fame head coach.

“Leaky is maybe as versatile after six or seven practices as anybody I’ve ever had,” Williams told the Charlotte Observer.

It’s that versatility that will help Black get playing time despite the Tar Heels’ personnel on the floor at any given time. His height and length will create obvious mismatches for smaller guards as well as less ball-savvy wings and forwards.

Fans can expect a healthy dose of Black early and often this season, and even more so if the Tar Heels struggle with inconsistency at the point guard position, or decide to go with a smaller lineup and play him on the wing or in the front court.

Strengths and something he needs to improve on…

Black’s versatility simply cannot be overstated. His ability to effectively play multiple positions could end up being one of the Tar Heels’ greatest strengths this season. It will also lead to more minutes for Black, who could reasonably play four positions in Williams’ rotation.

When the Tar Heels go big, Black could play an over-sized, but aptly skilled point guard. When the Tar Heels go small, Black could scoot over to the four and give opposing front court players problems with his quickness and ball-handling skills.

Regardless of his terrific versatility, Black could stand to put on some weight. If he spends any amount of time in the UNC front court, his size advantage could quickly be turned into a disadvantage when playing against taller, stronger players.

Next. Where the Tar Heels stand with Cole Anthony.... dark

Bold prediction

Black will play all five positions for the Tar Heels this season. Obviously, that won’t be a nightly thing. Over the course of the season, though, the hybrid point-forward will spend time at each spot on the court.