Without question, 2018 UNC commitment Rechon "Leaky" Black enjoyed UNC's 90-83 win over Duke on Saturday. Watching with his parents from just behind the scorer's table, Black celebrated like he's already enrolled at UNC. He clapped after made baskets, threw his hands up in the air after a questionable call and stood in admiration of UNC's seniors during their speeches.
It's not that he wasn't comfortable in the Smith Center before, after all he's been to a dozen games in the building. But Saturday night, with Michael Jordan, Antawn Jamison, Rasheed Wallace and Lennie Rosenbluth in the building, it felt like home.
"It was really just an incredible atmosphere," Black told Inside Carolina. "There were a lot of runs by both teams and we just kind of fought through it and were able to pull it out. The crowd was loud and everybody was into it. And, of course, Michael Jordan was there."
"I didn't get a chance to meet him or anything," continued Black. "But he walked right in front of me and my parents. I wanted to grab him or shake his hand or something, but I didn't. I didn't want to get thrown out or anything (laughs)."
There were moments, however, when Black wasn't quite focused on the game at hand. Instead, he was thinking about what could be.
"What would it be like if I played with my friends?"
"Could we win a national championship at UNC?"
"How can I help my future team be the best it can be?"
The potential answers to those questions, coupled with his dynamic personality, are why Black has become the face of UNC's future. Every great core group of Carolina players has a guy others naturally gravitate toward. Earlier this decade it was Kendall Marshall, then Marcus Paige took over, Kennedy Meeks and Theo Pinson have since followed suit.
Now, it's Black's turn. And he's wasting no time getting started.
Black considers 2018 forward Jairus Hamilton, who sat beside him on Saturday and played with him on Team Loaded last summer, one of his best friends. He chats and texts with 2018 forward Zion Williamson - UNC's top target in the class of 2018 - multiple times each week.
He played with 2017 UNC signee Jalek Felton at events last summer, grew up with 2019 UNC target Wendell Moore and has become close with fellow 2018 commitment Coby White. Now playing at Montverde (Fla.) Academy, Black has even gotten to know 2017 forward Kevin Knox, having played against him this season.
"It really was kind of me and Jalek doing a double team," Black explained. "He's like the bigger brother of UNC guys that everyone knows and respects. I'm like the little brother who everyone is cool with. We did a lot of recruiting, but we weren't all up in their face every five minutes saying 'come to Carolina' or anything like that. It was good friends just hanging out and being cool. We were saying 'come to Carolina' maybe like every 30 minutes."
After the game and senior speeches, Black, Williamson, Hamilton and Felton hung out on the Smith Center floor and then in the player's lounge area.
"It was just chill," Black said. "We were having a good time and enjoying each other's company. After talking to all of them, I think we have a really good chance with all of them. I don't know if it will happen, but just standing on the court with them after the game, I was just thinking, 'This is it. This could be our team in a couple years.'"
In addition to the recruits in attendance, Black has a good relationship with 2018 guard Romeo Langford.
"On my way home, I was texting with those guys - Jairus, Zion and Romeo," he said. "I'm trying to set it up where we all do our official visit on the same weekend. We've got to figure out our schedules, but I'm working on it."