UNC Basketball: Comparing the skillset of Rechon Black and Theo Pinson

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 27: Theo Pinson /

The freshman hybrid wing enters the North Carolina program right as his comparison, Theo Pinson, graduates.

At 6-foot-7, Rechon “Leaky” Black seems like a traditional wing forward, but throughout his high school days, he played primarily at the point guard position.

With great ball handling ability and the vision of a true point guard, his versatile skill set to go along with his size has allowed him to play all five positions at one point or another through his first seven collegiate games in a Carolina uniform.

Averaging 4.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 14.3 minutes per game, his ability to stuff the stat sheet have drawn comparisons to another versatile player who just graduated from Carolina, Theo Pinson.

The 6-foot-6 Pinson finished his great Carolina career with averages of 6.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game while playing in 122 total games.

In the early parts of his career, Pinson lacked much of a shooting ability but made up for it with his ability to create for others. As his career developed, he slowly gained a more respectable shot but it was his intangibles that made him one of the most interesting players in college basketball.

As a senior, it was really shown as he would play on the ball most of the time when he was on the floor, moving Joel Berry into a more off the ball role, allowing him to focus more on scoring which is what the Tar Heels needed. This resulted in almost a 30 percent assist rate when he had the ball in his hands and 5.1 assists per game, good enough for fifth in the ACC.

As it stands now, Black ranks 55 in the ACC in assists per game, but top 25 when it comes to assists per 40 minutes, a stat to look at much more as Black is only playing roughly 14 minutes a game.

We saw first hand over the holiday weekend at the Vegas Invitational what it could look like with Black being the primary ball handler, as he was inserted into the backup point guard role. In 32 total minutes, Black went 3-for-5 from the field while committing only one turnover and played terrific defense, especially in the second half against UCLA’s Jaylen Hands.

Not only being able to make plays for others, but Black’s size and positionless ability also allow for many mismatches on the offensive end. With his wingspan, it has been relatively easy for him to shoot over smaller defenders even without much space.

Just like Pinson, Black isn’t a high volume scorer or shooter as it stands now, especially from three, but he shoots the ball at a high rate of 63 percent on his two-point shots, whereas Pinson was a career 50 percent shooter from two.

Per 100 possessions, Black has a terrific offensive rating of 121.9 in comparison to Pinson’s 112 career average and 116 as a senior, going back to his versatility and creative skillset.

One aspect of Leaky Black’s game that may never have come about if he never transferred to Montverde Academy during his junior year of high school,  is his ability to play off the ball.

During his junior year, Black went from playing the majority of his minutes on the ball to the majority off, thanks to the likes of high school teammates, Duke freshman R.J Barrett and Florida freshman Andrew Nembhard, both of which were extremely talented ball-dominant guards.

During this time, Blacks’ game evolved; becoming more involved in the off-ball movement in order to get the ball, as well as becoming a terrific offensive rebounder, all skills he brings to the table now at North Carolina.

Defensively for Black, this is where he can really shine. Just like Pinson, they have great length and athleticism to guard multiple positions and be extremely disruptive in the passing lanes. We have already seen multiple times this season when Black jumps a passing lane for an easy transition bucket.

Though it is still very early on in Black’s career, he has shown great promise and potential. Every Carolina fan loved what Theo Pinson brought to the table and so far through the first month of the season, Black is doing everything to emulate that, and at times is even better.

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If Seventh Woods misses the upcoming game against Michigan, Black’s skillset and versatility will be on full display once again, as the third member of the 2018 recruiting class seems to have found his niche for the Tar Heels.