Photo Courtesy James Nix/Independent Tribune

Sophomore Season Review: UNC Commit Rechon Black

UNC commitment Rechon Black shifts to the AAU circuit after learning valuable lessons his sophomore year.

Rechon "Leaky" Black and Concord (N.C.) High School won 23 games this season. They beat rival Concord (N.C.) J.M. Robinson in a state-wide televised game in January and Black, the state’s top sophomore, committed to North Carolina.

It was a great season – Black called it “fun” and “beautiful” – of which the triumphs were only matched by its disappointments.

Concord lost three of its final five games, including a 68-67 season-ending upset to North Forsyth in the NCHSAA 3A playoffs.

“At the end of the day, we didn’t play as a team and we let our egos get the best of us when the going got tough,” Black said. “We lost and got beat and that was that.”

“We didn’t really meet our goals because we wanted to be the best team in the state,” he continued. “It was crazy how good we were when we played together. The fans loved it and I’d say we had an all-around great season, but I wish we could go back to those last couple of games and just do more.”

Unlike UNC signees Brandon Robinson, Seventh Woods and Tony Bradley, the loss to North Forsyth wasn’t Black’s final high school game. His grieving process, however, was similar.

“The first two days after the game I did not leave the house,” Black explained. “The first day after, I didn’t leave my bed. My sister and a couple of friends got me out of the house and took me to a ball game. Then I got away from basketball and stuff and started reflecting on the season. After about five days, I got back in the gym and started working again.”

Black rattled off the typical areas of improvement he’s focusing on – getting stronger and improving ball handling and shooting – over the coming weeks and months.

“My game needs improvement all around,” said Black, who averaged 14 points, seven assists and eight rebounds as a sophomore for Concord. “Balance, strength and a whole bunch of post work too. Today, I lifted in the morning, then worked out with my dad, got shots up and did some running in my neighborhood for my stamina.

But the area he wants to improve most has nothing to do with his lanky, 6-7 frame.

“A couple of years ago, there were times I didn’t even shoot the ball more than a couple of times each game,” said Black. “I’ve got to get more aggressive. Stuff just comes naturally to me, so I have to have a mindset. I have to stay aggressive. I’ve just got to work so I can take over games when my team needs me, that’s going to be my main thing.”

This spring, Black will play with Team Loaded N.C. on the Adidas Uprising AAU circuit. He’s joined by friend and 2018 UNC target Jairus Hamilton.

“My mindset will be the same in AAU ball, even with a new team,” Black said. “It’s still just one team and one goal to be our best every night. I’m still trying to be a better player, a more aggressive player.”

Recruiting isn’t one of Black’s areas for improvement, because it’s something in which he’s already well versed. He’s trying to get Hamilton, 2019 UNC target Wendell Moore and 2018 UNC target Devon Dotson to join him in Chapel Hill.

“I’m going be a pest on (Hamilton) with Team Loaded,” said Black. “I’m just telling them all that Carolina is an all-around good school, but what I based my decision on, at the end of the day, is that getting the offers is good, but you can only choose one school. I tell them to pick the school that is the best fit for you, and of course I tell them it’s UNC. They have a great coaching staff, a great history and a great program. I’ve just been bugging them really.”

Almost two months after his verbal commitment to Roy Williams’s Tar Heels, Black said his commitment is still surreal.

“Everything changed completely (after I committed) and it’s great,” he said. “Almost everywhere I go someone knows me because of Carolina and starts talking basketball. When I go to games it’s one big family. Everybody there knows me and shows love. I’m still trying to get used to saying I’m a Carolina commit because I didn’t see it coming.”

Black and Hamilton are among those that will participate in the inaugural Underclassmen All-American game in Indianapolis on April 6.

“It’s an honor,” he said. “I think it should be real fun and I’m looking forward to competing.”

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