Headed into last weekend's Real Deal in the Rock in Little Rock, AR, Tarik Black enjoyed a favorable regional reputation. After a terrific showing with the Memphis Magic Elite, the chiseled 6-foot-8 power forward from Memphis (TN) Ridgeway has turned his reputation from regional to national.
The man on his high school team, Black says that there's a bit of a mental transition moving from school to summer ball.
"Summer ball you get a bunch of high level players together on one team," said Black. "In high school ball, your team relies on you a lot more. Mentally, it's tough to make the transition sometimes. Physically, we're all talented enough to make the transition."
A superior run and jump athlete who uses strong hands to secure rebounds above the rim, Black isn't afraid to do the dirty work. He relishes the chance to dunk on somebody, runs the floor and most importantly, he's willing to put the work in away from game time.
"I think my strength is my work ethic. I'm always going to bring it," said Black. "I've got to learn to be more comfortable with the ball in my hands."
A safe bet to crack the national rankings, Black recently earned an invitation to the prestigious NBPA Top 100 camp. Not surprisingly, he's being pursued heavily by many college programs. However, he's not quite ready to tell reporters who is chasing the most.
"It's a lot of schools, I can't remember them all," said Black. "I don't want to call out a bunch of schools and forget some."
One school that Black was willing to talk about was Missouri. Mike Anderson has made it clear that he'd love to have Black in Columbia and the Memphis product was impressed with the Tigers NCAA tourney run.
"Actually, Coach Anderson called me just a couple of nights ago and I know they want me," Black told Inside Mizzou. "I'm from Memphis and in order to beat us you got to be pretty tough. They did that so I'm really looking at them."
While he's not giving out a formal school list, Black is thinking about the decision making process. In fact, he has a plan in place to come up with a list and narrow it from there.
"By the end of the summer I'd like to have a top two or so," said Black of the process. "I'll narrow it down to like five or so at the end of this month I think."
Now that he's feeling the love nationally, it's not a surprise that how much love he feels from those recruiting him will ultimately play a big role when he does make his decision. His mom, on the other hand, will be looking at something else.
"How much love is a school showing me? If a head coach is calling me and stuff, I like that," said Black. "I really like it when they show me love. My mom though, she doesn't really care about basketball and all of that. She's focused on academics so she wants to make sure I'm going to a good academic school."