Duke and its coaching staff appear to be in a full-court press for former Memphis big man Tarik Black, but I’m not entirely sure why that is.
I can see the appeal, Black who graduated from Memphis is 3 years is looking to transfer for his final year of eligibility and play right away. At 6-foot-9 and 262 pounds, Black is a big body that the Blue Devils are in low supply in terms of next year’s roster.
But beyond being a big body that could rotate in and play minutes in the post, he isn’t exactly a guy that is going to give you 20 and 10 on a nightly basis. His 8.1 point, 4.8 rebounds per night aren’t the kind of numbers that make you think All-American or even All-ACC. Clearly the Blue Devils whose coaches have already visited him in his house see the need.
Right now the only player who is taller than 6-8 on the roster is Marshall Plumlee who after redshirting his true freshman year, played hardly any during his sophomore campaign. He injured his foot prior to the start of the 2012-2013 season and despite talk from Mike Krzyzewski that he was potentially the 6th or 7th best player on the team, he looked nothing of the sort when he did get on the court.
Duke has a solid recruiting class coming in led by No. 2 player Jabari Parker, shooting guard Matt Jones and small forward Semi Ojeleye. They also get to have Mississippi State transfer after he sat out his NCAA mandatory year penalty. In short, the Blue Devils will be stacked with athletic guards and wings but won’t have really any bodies in the post.
Amile Jefferson isn’t likely to gain 50 pounds of muscle in the off season and Josh Hairston isn’t going to grow another three to four inches. The Blue Devils options are limited to pretty much nil at this point.
If they land Black he will most certainly provide a body who can fill a role, but anyone thinking he will make or break any championship hopes are probably over estimating his value. That isn’t to slight Black, he could make Duke better, but there are no guarantees.
He isn’t Elton Brand, or Carlos Boozer and he wasn’t even a guy that could dominate at Memphis in Conference USA, so to expect him to come to Duke and into the ACC and be a dominate player is a bit too much to expect and unfair to Black.
A commitment from Black would be good news but the Blue Devils will only go as far as their guards and wings carry them. Black would just be a small piece in the bigger puzzle and it could be a piece Duke may not even need, but just wants to have.
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