Friday, June 7, 2013

No time to lose: Transfer Tarik Black already working hard

Memphis transfer Tarik Black conducts an interview inside Allen Fieldhouse on Thursday, June 6, 2013.

Memphis transfer Tarik Black conducts an interview inside Allen Fieldhouse on Thursday, June 6, 2013.



Memphis transfer Tarik Black conducts an interview inside Allen Fieldhouse on Thursday, June 6, 2013.

It hasn’t taken Kansas University basketball newcomer Tarik Black long to invest himself fully in strength coach Andrea Hudy’s weight program.

“Three days in a row now ... it’s serious, and I love it. It’s what I need. I can feel it right now, and I can see it right now. Over time, I’m going to develop and get better,” said Black, KU’s senior transfer from the University of Memphis, who says he has reported to campus for summer school at 6-foot-9, 260 pounds.

“By the time the season starts, the measurements will be different, so look out for new numbers,” added Black, immediately eligible for the 2013-14 season thanks to a rule that allows transfers to play without delay provided they have earned an undergraduate degree.

A recent Memphis graduate in the field of organizational leadership, the 21-year-old Black plans to lead a young KU team.

“Even though I’m new to this program, I’m not new to college basketball. I’m not new to big games. I’m not new to taking over games. I’m not new to anything that has to do with the college level,” said Black, who averaged 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds while coming off the bench in 27 games and starting five his junior season for the Tigers (31-5).

“I have experience to spread. I’m already spreading it. I’m not saying I’ll step into the gym as a leader. I have to earn that role and earn my keep. I have to earn guys’ respect for me and (have the) coaches expect to trust me, that I’ll be a leader and not steer guys wrong, which I plan on doing. It’s not going to happen tomorrow. I wouldn’t call me a leader just yet.”

Still, just a few days into the first session of summer school, Black has been not been shy around KU’s five freshmen on campus. The sixth member of the freshman class, Andrew Wiggins, is in his home country of Canada.

“He’s definitely one of the oldest in the room,” freshman guard Wayne Selden said of Black. “He’s definitely leading us and helping us. In three days, I’ve got some good advice already.”

Such as ... “different stuff, not basketball, but different stuff,” said Selden, who has also been impressed with Black during pick-up games.

“Powerful. He can go get the rebound. He’s strong,” Selden said emphatically.

Black signed a financial-aid agreement with KU on May 20, choosing the Jayhawks over Duke, Oregon, Ohio State and Georgetown. On Thursday, he for the first time explained what went into his decision. He had waited until reporting to campus to agree to his first interviews as a Jayhawk.

“For one, the masters program that provides me what I want to do, assures me I’m going to learn something new for my future and what I want to do in my future,” Black said.

After what he hopes is a long pro career, he plans to open his own nonprofit organization.

“Looking at basketball, I’m just looking for an opportunity to propel myself into the situation I want to be in, which is to try to get to the next level,” Black said. “More important, just to win big at the collegiate level and be the best player I can be at the college level.”

A Memphis Ridgeway High graduate who was ranked No. 47 nationally by in the Class of 2010, Black said it was difficult to leave coach Josh Pastner’s program.

“Memphis is my heart and soul. It was more so telling my city, telling my family, which is not only my blood family but just my family sitting in Memphis — the Tigers — everybody, that I made a decision to go to another university,” Black said. “It hurts, but I had to make the best decision for myself.

“If I’m really truthful, I’ll tell you what I’ll miss the most ... I’ll miss looking up in the stands before every game, seeing my mom standing there and my brothers and my father and looking up and blowing them kisses, blowing my mother a kiss, my brother giving me a look like, ‘Yeah, little brother, you just did it.’ But I’m older now. I’m out here now. I made a decision for myself. It’s time for me to finish and accomplish what I set out to do.”

Black said he knew KU was the school for him on his campus visit earlier in May.

“We had to drive from the Kansas City airport. We saw a sign that said, ‘Lawrence.’ My dad said, ‘That’s my name,’” Tarik said of Lawrence Black. “Coach (Kurtis) Townsend said that’s the name of the city as well. Coach Townsend said, ‘It’s only right.’”

Black’s older brother, Bilal, who played college ball at Langston University in Oklahoma, helped Tarik choose the number he’ll wear at KU — 25. Tarik (pronounced TAR-ick) wore 10 at Memphis.

“He said, ‘You should go to 25. I feel it’s right for you,’” Black said. “He said, ‘2 times 5 equals 10 anyway, so you’ll still have your number on.’ I said, ‘Cool, so I’ll go to 25.’”

He thinks his one and only season at KU will be special.

“We’re young but so talented, and Andrew Wiggins has not even got here yet,” Black said. “Even without him being here (currently), I see us being one of the top teams in the country because I played the top teams in the country. I understand what the talent is like on those teams. We possess that. We just have to mature.”

A reporter surmised that Black “must be smart” to have earned an undergraduate degree in three years.

“I’d rather be called ‘intelligent’ over ‘smart,’ but I’m both,” Black said with a smile. “Just putting in a lot of hours, understanding there’s a goal and I have to reach it ... accomplishing what I set out to do. It’s willpower, knowing I wanted to graduate in three years, sticking to it and getting the job done.”

Selden, a 6-5 guard from Boston who will wear jersey No. 1 at KU, also met the media Thursday.

“It’s been a great experience,”’s No. 12-rated player in the Class of 2013 said of his first days in Lawrence. “Just getting together with the guys, just hanging out with the guys, and we’re just trying to become one team. That’s all it is right now.”


GabrielMichael 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I almost feel bad for Kentucky not having a leader like Tarik... I said almost.

His attitude is invaluable...



Ralster Jayhawk 10 months, 2 weeks ago

LOVE the focus and work ethic by Tarik Black. He is at the right place. No disrespect to the Memphis Tigers. Fate works in mysterious ways. Chance favors the prepared mind (&body). Tarik is here working hard at everything. RCJH!


davehawkSWK 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow!! A lot of posts concerning religion. Religion is an ism; believing is a mindset in which one may or may not believe in a higher being, or a rock, as one chooses. However, it does behoove one to "believe" that religion is dangerous when taken in the context of the "believers" in the Mid-East. It has been proven over and over again that some people on this great planet feel that violence in the name of God is the only route. That is not what I believe, as I believe that my God is one of peace and love. I can only hope that those of the Mideast principles will turn to destroying their own within their country and leave ours alone!

What a great article from a young man who has his future aligned with his present standards. So refreshing to see a young man who has the: Knowledge--Knowing what he wants after basketball and the: Wisdom - -Understanding what it will take to get there.

I look forward to the 2013-2014 season!.


eric poncharello 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Will see how TAR-ik shows how mature he is, when he doesn't get his way?? I'm not sold on his attitude and were a team fodder.


eric poncharello 10 months, 2 weeks ago

What is this quietly? Yeah, if he was muslim you would be ok with that and not mention quietly! NO offense! !@#$


John Fitzgerald 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Tarik is going to turn Ellis into a man. Self brought Tarik here to push Ellis around and force him to get aggressive and stronger. I feel like he's right on the edge of being great, one little push and he's in the tank with guys like TRob, Simien, Peirce, Collison, Morris brothers, ect. I would mention Withey, Aldrich, and LaFrentz but they fit into a different category.

Mark my words, 3 guys will have break out years this year and be stars.

  1. Andrew Wiggins - How can he not be a star. Next Lebron? How about the new Andrew Wiggins. After this year there will only be the next Andrew Wiggins.

  2. Naadir Tharpe - This kid is flat out tough and doesn't give less than 150%. He hardly turns the ball over, and if he wants to score, he will score. He will develop into the best point we've had since Miles and Robinson.

  3. Perry Ellis - Tarik is going to push him around all summer and Ellis is going to say, "no more". The day he says "no more" is the day Ellis becomes a man and Self says "ohhhhhh yeaaa". Ellis has the biggest upside on the team, and once he breaks out, he's going to be a freaking monster. When we look back at this year, we won't think about just Andrew Wiggins, we will think about the star Ellis turned into and how he was the team leader.


ku_foaf 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I have a feeling his parents were Hill Street Blues fans.


Andrew Moore 10 months, 2 weeks ago

intelligence = capacity to become smart

smart = possession of knowledge


karken1992 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I didn't not want Black here. More of a meh feeling after reading his stats and his supposed issues with Pastner. After reading this article I changed my mind.


KMathis 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Well Mr Personality and Mr Leader may be very well-spoken, but his dreadful free throw shooting shows he's a head case. He shot 58.7 percent as a freshman, 59 percent as a sophomore and 44.8 percent as a junior. A 15 percent dropoff. That is Chris Dudley / Ben Wallace awful. He did lead Conference USA in fouls, so let's expect less of a saviour and realize that we are going to deal with some frustration around stupid fouls and lousy free throw shooting. He's shown he can TALK a good time. Now it's time to improve shooting and stay on the court rather than ride the pine due to foul trouble.


Morri1314 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Nice to read an article and not cringe when reading the player's comments. This young man comes off as high school and college educated.


wrwlumpy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

“Three days in a row now ... it’s serious, and I love it. It’s what I need. I can feel it right now, and I can see it right now. Over time, I’m going to develop and get better,” said Black, KU’s senior transfer from the University of Memphis, who says he has reported to campus for summer school at 6-foot-9, 260 pounds.

KU has his graduate program. Father is named Lawrence. They got to meet Kurtis Townsend, currently the best non AAU coach recruiting in the country.

After realizing how intelligent and mature he is, I feel that this might have been part of his disagreement with coach Donny Osmond. As a sophomore, he was second team all-SEC. Tarik seems like a very proud man who want to be a community organizer with his own non-profit organization. He was punished for his actions and paid a price. Yet after being set on the bench he still averaged over 8 pts a game and almost 5 rebounds. Then He got his starting job back.

This man has gone against Anthony Davis as a starter a couple of times. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Keep hanging with Hudy, learn the offense and get every rebound.


REHawk 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Good article, Gary Bedore. If bashers had not run Keegan off this site, we might be seeing more daily articles re our newcomers. Fans are eager to read these "bonding" articles. (Oops! I notice that TK DID return today.)


Chris Shaw 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I think Tharpe should have changed his number to 42 because 4 x 2 equals 8 and that is the number of assists Tharpe is going to average this year. 42 is also a great number because Tharpe will 4.2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. Mind Blown right now!!!!!!!!


Tony Bandle 10 months, 2 weeks ago


1] 6'-9", 260 lbs. and Ms. Hudy is going to make Tarik stronger???? YIKES!!!!

2] New recruiting directive; whenever we bring a new recruit in with his parents, make sure the Mom or Dad's name is covering the Lawrence sign!! i.e. Welcome to Elmer, Kansas. :)

3] "Stuff" translates "dedication", "toughness", "focus", "hustle" and "pride".

4] Adidas for another six years...please tell me that DOES NOT include those alternative rags. [And KU's were among the best of the bunch!!]

5] It will be fun to measure where Tarik's impact on the team will be most pronounced...on the court or in the practice gym!!

6] The next new reality game show...Christians versus Atheists. The object of the game is for the Christians to prove there is a God and for the Atheists to prove there isn't. The final episode will be aired during the Apocalypse.

7] The best "all new lineup" this side of UK - Center/Jo Jo, Power Forward/Tarik, Wing/Andrew, Shooting Guard/Wayne and Point Guard/Frank, First off Bench/Conner.


Jeffery Barrett 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I am so excited about the upcoming sports year! I will be at Memorial stadium for a game for the first time since 2004. And I will be at Allen for a game for the first time since Nov. 2008. Can't wait!!!


ccarp 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Welcome, Tarik! I bet your family will enjoy seeing you play in Allen Fieldhouse too! Rock Chalk!


FearlessJayhawk 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I hope we finally win another NCAA Championship. It's been so long.


KemDooKU 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Let's keep it down a little - there's still UK, Duke, UL, UNC, Mich St, UA, and many more that will also be putting on a jersey this year.

Tarik is not Tim Duncun Wayne is not Koby Embiid is not Ewing Frankenstein is not Godzilla


Reuben_J_Cogburn 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Kid's gonna be a monster.

I for one am gonna jump on the "Second Coming of Jeff Graves" train. We need someone who's only role is to bang around down low, get rebounds, and maybe a few points here and there.

...not to mention bring a little intimidation.


Jeff Suther 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm gonna be ticked if black is starting. Kevin Young 2.0. No one really knows why he's out there.


doolindalton 10 months, 2 weeks ago


Shoot a thousand free throws a day. Make at least 700.


finestack 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Tarik is uber intelligent; HCBS is superhuman smart for landing him. Come on, organizational leadership? Kid making great long term career choices and at the same time using gut and some humor for the small stuff (jersey number)? Ridonkulas!


Jeff Schartz 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Thank The Lord for people like Actorman, who bring up the relevance of our Father in heaven, in everything he does. Not only does he show how fearful he is of organized religion, he shows how insignificant he can be by criticizing things he can't possibly trust or understand. Than you, Actorman, for keeping Christ in the forefront. It's people like you that help the cause, by attacking it.

Rock, Chalk, Jayhalk!


nuleafjhawk 10 months, 2 weeks ago

How can he be considered smart or intelligent when he left a Nike school for an Adidas school? (turn on your sarcasm font decoders)


KansasComet 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I'd rather be called already proved that when you picked KU!


mgphill 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Looks like Kevin Young passed the fro torch on to Black for another year.


actorman 10 months, 2 weeks ago

What an impressive, mature and, dare I say intelligent young man! I'm so psyched after reading his comments!

I especially love that he's already not only thinking about what he'll do after his basketball career is over, but planning to start a non-profit organization. How many players have you EVER heard say something like that when they're still in college (or technically grad school)?

And one other thing, for those of us who are not religious: it's refreshing to hear that he's sharp and together and that he's not thanking Jesus for everything.


KJD 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Several good quotes that is starting the fire for 2014 KU round ball FANaticism!

“Powerful. He can go get the rebound. He’s strong.” AND "We’re young but so talented, and Andrew Wiggins has not even got here yet. Even without him being here, I see us being one of the top teams in the country because I played the top teams in the country. I understand what the talent is like on those teams. We possess that. We just have to mature."

Just keep working team and we'll love every minute of it. FANtastic. Go KU!!


Dirk Medema 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Tarik is going to explode this year, and pull all the young guys along with him. Last year was just a wasted dormant period for him, and he's already making up for lost time. We are going to have one of the most dominant front courts in CBB, and then there is the potential NPOTY.


David Hall 10 months, 2 weeks ago



always_correct 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks for helping me get my fix. Please feel free to feed my addiction as often as possible.


Jesse Johnson 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Did I miss the article that reported that the new freshman had arrived on campus? I was waiting for that, but it seems they're all there already (except of course Wiggins). Can't wait to see them all playing together!


chezlog 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Only an intelligent person knows that there is a difference between smart and intelligent. Go show 'em Tarik!


Bill Skeet 10 months, 2 weeks ago

“We’re young but so talented, and Andrew Wiggins has not even got here yet.”

And so begins the 2013-14 season.

Is it ok to have basketball goosebumps in June?


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