USA Today // Jerry Lai

Sean's Scout: Leron Black

Illini Inquirer basketball analyst Sean Harrington reviews Leron Black's freshman season, previews sophomore year

During the next few weeks, Illini Inquirer basketball analyst Sean Harrington will give a scouting report on each Illinois basketball returner. His first three reports focused on returning juniors Malcolm HillKendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate.

Leron Black Scouting Report

Last Season in Review

Leron Black came in as a true freshman and was a key contributor to the team.  Leron has a motor that you just cannot teach.  Every team needs a high-energy guy.  There is hardly ever a time that Illinois runs a play strictly for Black to score, yet he finds a way to get his points.  He finds himself on the offensive boards for put backs, cutting to the rim to receive a pass or just posts up deep in the lane for an easy basket.  Another impressive sign from Black was that has numbers from non-conference to Big Ten play are almost identical in all statistical categories (5.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 47.5% FG overall; 4.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 47.6% FG during Big Ten play).  That is rare for a freshmen to play at the same level against higher competition.  Now Leron needs to learn how to use his strengths and not hurt the team.  Black found himself in foul trouble too often and committed too many silly flagrant fouls.  Leron will have to improve on his average of committing a foul every 5.4 minutes (Nnanna Egwu was 9.9 as a senior).

Offseason Focus

Leron needs to continue to get stronger.  Black’s greatest asset to the team is his ability to be physical and be that tough defender, rebounder and energy guy for the Illini.  To be an effective post scorer, you need to have two post moves.  One move needs to be your bread and butter (righty hook or drop step), while the other needs to be a counter move (spin back or face up).  In the post, you don’t want to complicate things.  Know your two moves, and perfect them.  Leron has the potential to be a good shooter from 15-17 feet, so getting up plenty of midrange step in jumpers this offseason will be important.  

2015-16 Expectation

The Illini lose a ton inside with the graduation of Nnanna Egwu.  Leron Black will be asked to fill some of that void.  This season, Leron should find himself as one of the top-two rebounders on the team.  Also, with his aggressive play, he could be in the top-three in free-throw attempts.  Staying on the floor and not committing silly fouls will be important.  With a year under his belt, look for his foul-every-5.4-minutes rate to improve greatly.  On stats alone, it will be hard to see a drastic improvement from last season because he produced good freshmen numbers. But a 6 ppg and 6 rpg sophomore season would be a successful one.  

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