Spring Has Been Good To Black

Junior power forward Tarik Black impressed last weekend at the Real Deal In The Rock. The Ridgeway post had his way inside and as a result has increased his profile.

The spring is about confirming what you hear. When it came to Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway's Tarik Black, there were some whispers on the street. We heard he was 6-foot-6 (he's 6-8). Also heard he was a hard playing guy (that's true).

Black, a member of the Class of 2010, is in the midst of confirming what the word on the street says about him: he's a player. "I like when people hear the truth about me," Black said. "People told people that I was a hard worker. I think when came out to see me I showed them exactly everything I got."

At last weekend's Real Deal In The Rock, Black assaulted rims. He's an inside guy who is pretty vanilla. He draws a straight line for the rim and takes the shortest path there. "I don't have an approach. I play off instinct. My assistant coach told me the other day that I'm crazy because I play like I'm in my own world. It's pure instinct."

A competitor inside, Black isn't a guy with an identity crisis. He's not much of a shooter, so he limits his shots outside the paint. "I can do damage in the post. Weakness? It's that I don't have perimeter skills, it's that I'm not confident yet. If I get confident my game will go much further."

In his younger days, Black shunned weightlifting because he came up with a theory. He thought that if he bulked up he wouldn't get any taller. He's since been talked out of that and has started getting up reps in the gym. At 6-8, he's thick and aggressive. He's got the tools he needs to have in order to carve out his niche inside.

Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Memphis, Miami, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee like him. Duke watched him workout this week and interest is likely to come from both coasts. So far, of all the coaches he spoken to, it's been the local guy who has hit home with his words.

"The best pitch I've heard is Josh Pastner's pitch. He told me I wasn't allowed to leave Memphis no matter what I say, my mom, nothing. That kind of stuff hits me."

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