UNC Basketball 2020-2021 Player Preview: Leaky Black

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 15: Leaky Black #1 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game against the Gardner-Webb Runnin Bulldogs at the Dean Smith Center on November 15, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 77-61. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 15: Leaky Black #1 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game against the Gardner-Webb Runnin Bulldogs at the Dean Smith Center on November 15, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 77-61. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Our UNC Basketball player preview series continues with Leaky Black, a junior who will play a major role on this year’s UNC basketball squad.

Kerwin Walton | Donovan Johnson | Creighton Lebo | Day’Ron Sharpe | Walker Kessler | RJ Davis | Armando Bacot |

On UNC basketball’s media day a few weeks ago, senior Garrison Brooks compared teammate Leaky Black to a “healthy Swiss army knife.”

Black is a player that has the ability to do essentially anything on the floor. He is a very talented athlete who can play multiple positions and fill various holes for this Tar Heels team.

Given the combination of his size, tremendous court vision and ability to still effectively play the point guard position, Black will continue to draw comparisons to former Tar Heel Theo Pinson, who possessed a very similar skillset.

Like Pinson did during his time at Chapel Hill, Black has the ability to be  a “stat-sheet stuffer.” The Concord, NC native can impact the game in various types of ways on any given night.

As he continues to develop, Black will assert himself as an impact player for the Tar Heels, and will play a vital role in the team’s success this upcoming season.

2019-2020 Season in Review

Heading into his sophomore season, it was expected that Black’s role on this team would drastically change. After averaging just over 10 minutes per game as a freshman, Black earned a spot in Roy Williams’ starting rotation and a major minutes increase heading into the 2019-2020.

Unfortunately, the injury bug hampered Black throughout essentially the entire season. Although he wasn’t playing at full strength, Black but was still able to play in 32 of the team’s 33 contests last season.

Black dealt with ankle/foot injuries that most certainly impacted his play. Even though he never used it as an excuse, it played a major role in his productiveness.

In his increased role, Black saw improvements in multiple stat categories, including points, rebounds, assists and steals.

However, his shooting percentage did take a bit of hit.

In a much smaller sample size, Black shot 46.9% from the floor, 41.7% from three-point land and 85.7% from the free-throw line during his freshman season.

As a sophomore, Black shot 35.9% from the floor, 25.4% from downtown and 69.6% from the free-throw line.

Now, to be fair, the Tar Heels struggled collectively shooting the ball as a whole during the 2019-2020 season. Black’s health could definitely have been a factor in this, but the team’s poor floor spacing could also have an impact on his shooting struggles.

Overall, Black averaged 6.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

Check out the video below to see some of Leaky Black’s highlights from the 2019-2020 season. In the video, you’ll see some of the many ways that Black impacts the game for the Tar Heels.

What to expect in 2020-2021?

In an interview with Ross Martin of 247 Sports, Roy Williams discussed what he’s looking for from Black, Brooks and Armando Bacot heading into the upcoming season. Here’s what he had to say about his junior wing player:

"“Leaky, stay healthy. We want him to be able to play multiple positions because I think that’s so important to him, but if there’s one thing and it’s no question it’s not a surprise to anybody, (he’s) gotta be able to make outside shots. And also use his athleticism more than he does and I think that he could be the best (perimeter) defender in all of college basketball if he would slide his feet better and use his athleticism.”"

Based on recent reports, Black is said to be fully healthy, and has been working extremely hard in the gym to improve his game. If he can prove that he can hit outside shots, he has the ability to grow into a very lethal weapon for the Tar Heels.

With-a-doubt, health is a huge factor for Black as he heads into his junior season. Williams knows how important Black is to this current team, and understands that he needs him on the floor healthy if this team has hopes of making a deep tournament run this season.

In terms of his role, Black will continue to be the team’s starter at the wing position. Although he’ll see the bulk of his minutes at the wing, Black will also be called upon to play multiple positions, including some time running the point.

Williams will use definitely Black’s versatility in his favor. The junior’s athleticism will allow Williams to mix-and-match to create the best matchups possible for his team.

It will remain to be seen how much time Black sees at the guard position. This will all depend on the development of freshman Caleb Love and RJ Davis, who appear to be destined to play major roles right away.

Bold Prediction:

Of course, we’re all hoping to see a healthy Leaky Black this season.

If we see a fully-healthy Leaky Black this season, not only will he improve his stats from a year ago, but his shooting numbers will drastically improve. With more experience under his belt, Black will step up for this team that features a handful of newcomers.

Our bold prediction: similar to how  Brooks developed into a All-ACC caliber player last season, Black will continue that trend this season. When it comes time to honor the top players in each respective conference, Black will earn All-ACC honors for the first time in his collegiate career.

It’s safe to say that we have big expectations for the “Swiss army knife” this season.

Next. UNC Basketball: Tar Heels Place 3 on "Top 100 and 1" List. dark

Continue to follow the Keeping It Heel team for our upcoming player previews as we inch closer to the start of the UNC basketball season.