Our 2021-22 UNC basketball player preview series continues with small forward Leaky Black, who adds defense to the starting line up.
The UNC basketball team will need more of a consistent defensive effort this season if they want to add another banner to the rafters in the Dean Dome. It will be interesting to see the lineup that Hubert Davis rolls with, but odds are Leaky Black will be in it.
Black will enter his senior season as one of the more experienced players in Carolina’s system. Starting in 28 of 29 games last season, Black was often called on by Roy Williams. Yes, Willams has retired, however, Davis made it clear earlier in the year his plans to still utilize parts of Williams’ system.
“The foundation is set here at Carolina. And it’s a foundation that I believe in. It’s a foundation that has been tested, tried, and proven successful through Coach Smith, Coach Guthridge, and Coach Williams. I’ve got no desire, no plans, of going away from that foundation because I believe in it.”
2020-21 Season In Review
A season ago, Black totaled the second-most minutes (799) on the team, only three minutes behind Caleb Love’s 802. Despite Black’s struggles shooting the ball, his ball-hawking defense warranted the amount of minutes he got. During those minutes, Black averaged 8.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He was also seventh in the Atlantic Coastal Conference in steals with 36 on the season.
The flip side of Black’s good defense and rebounding is poor shooting. Last season, Black shot 36 percent from the field, 69 percent from the free throw line and 22 percent from three-point range.
What to Expect in 2021-22
Expect Black to continue to be a defensive anchor for UNC this year. The amount of playing time he gets should stay around the same as last year. Black should get a similar amount of shooting opportunities as last season with Carolina’s rebounding still in tact. A better spacing on offense should help those shooting splits go up, and limit any rushed shots from happening. His 6-foot-8 frame offers Carolina nice length at the guard/forward position, allowing them to do what they love; rebound.
This may be bold, but Black has what it takes to be in the running for All-ACC Defensive player of the year. Along with being a force on defense, Black will find his shooting stroke this season. Not to sound like a broken record, but Black is one consistent shot away from taking that next leap. Right now he earns playing time thanks to his defense, but could you imagine if he was just as much of a threat on offense?.
Be sure to check back with Keeping It Heel as we continue our coverage on the UNC Basketball program.