Scott Phillips/Special to IC

UNC Commitment Rechon Black Growing Up

Rigorous training and a national schedule at a prep powerhouse far from home is accelerating the maturation process for the future Tar Heel.

CHICAGO -- Rechon "Leaky" Black is starting to feel comfortable in his new home.

The North Carolina Class of 2018 commitment left his family in Concord, N.C. to spend his junior year at Montverde (Fla.) Academy and is now five games into the season.

His most recent performance was a 9-point, 8-rebound effort in a 30-point Montverde win at the Chicago Elite Classic over Evanston High School, a suburban Chicago team that will be competitive for a state title but isn't a national-caliber program.

Black made the move to Montverde in-part to elevate his play for the college level, for which head coach Kevin Boyle's rigorous program has a strong track record.

"It's been kind of tough with training camp, especially with Coach Boyle. We had a whole bunch of track workouts. Day-in, day-out grinding. It's been tough, it's been a grind. But I've been able to push through," Black said.

Now that the season is going and games are the focus after training camp, Black is trying to become a defensive pest who can guard multiple positions on the floor. During the game against Evanston, Boyle could be heard yelling at Black to keep up his defensive intensity and it showed in how Black hounded the ball.

"I feel like we've been improving. Every game we've been improving on something else whether its rebounding, defense, whatever it is," Black said. "That's every game. Every game [Boyle's] been telling us to play hard and play defense and play together. When we do that we look like a real team."

Since Black's team is competing for a national title and the roster is filled with high-major players, it isn't a typical experience like playing for most high school teams.

There isn't a scoring burden placed on Black since he has five-star teammates like sophomores Andrew Nembhard and R.J. Barrett and veteran seniors like Pitt signee Marcus Carr and VCU signee Sean Mobley.

That means Boyle has been preaching to Black that he needs to produce in other ways besides scoring to stay on the floor and be a valuable teammate.

"He's been telling me I've been getting better every game. Doing something different. I've definitely been trying to lock in on the defensive end and do all of the dirty work for the team," Black said. "Our team is definitely going to score the ball. I'm finding ways to stay involved in the game, just trying to play defense."

Teammates also had high praise for Black joining the Montverde program. Barrett thrives running with Black in transition during games but he's also enjoyed the benefit of playing against Black in practice.

"He's making me better, especially in practice," Barrett said of Black. "His arms are long so he's always poking the ball. He rebounds, he can shoot, he's more like a point guard. He plays good defense so he's a lot of fun to play with."

Besides acclimating to the basketball aspect of Montverde while playing a national schedule, Black is trying to adjust to being away from his family.

"It's definitely been tough, me and my family not seeing each other, obviously. I keep in contact with them on the daily. I'm here just trying to push through it," Black said.

"With our schedule they know when to call me, when to FaceTime me. A lot of FaceTime. Some texts here and there, but they know when to call, when to FaceTime. There's a very specific schedule."

When he's not playing basketball or dealing with school and family, Black has been watching North Carolina play as often as he can. Black's school-issued iPad has the ESPN app, so he can see the Tar Heels on that.

"I've been able to make a few games with the schedule I've had," Black said. "I feel like they're definitely hard to beat this year. I feel like they might even be better than last year. It's hard to tell, I'll have to watch more."

Black has also said that he'll do his best to recruit for North Carolina while he's down at Montverde as he jokingly mentioned that he was already in Barrett's ear.

"[I'm recruiting] as much as I can. I'm trying to get this guy over here (pointing to Barrett) to come along," Black said with a smile.


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