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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tarik Black not assured spot with Rockets

Houston Rockets' Tarik Black (10) looks to pass the ball against the Orlando Magic during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.

Houston Rockets' Tarik Black (10) looks to pass the ball against the Orlando Magic during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.

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Former Kansas University forward Tarik Black, who has started the Houston Rockets’ last two preseason games in place of Dwight Howard (arm laceration), still isn’t guaranteed a spot on the NBA team’s roster as the next round of cuts looms Sunday, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Black scored four points and grabbed two rebounds while playing 21 minutes in Friday’s 96-87 victory over San Antonio. The 6-foot-9 Memphis native entered with a 6.2 scoring, 6.8 rebound average while playing 17 minutes a game in seven games.

“To keep Black, who has a non-guaranteed contract, the Rockets would have to move either Joey Dorsey or Jeff Adrien, if not both,” reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

“If the Rockets move only one of the big men, they’d need to move a guard or small forward. Francisco Garcia has played in just two preseason games, but his lack of playing time likely reflects his experience more than his place on the roster. Ish Smith has played ahead of Isaiah Canaan, but (coach Kevin) McHale has praised Canaan’s play in several games off the bench.”

“I’m just going out there trying to have the best mindset I can because I love playing the game,” Black told the Chronicle. “I’m blessed to be at this level. That’s the only mindset I take. I don’t think about if I’m competing to come off the bench after Dwight (Howard). That’s too much pressure.

“The decision-makers are going to make their decision. If I get a phone call, I get a phone call. Other than that, I have to stick with who I am. If it’s good news or bad news, things are out of my hands. I roll with the punches.”

Of Black’s situation, KU coach Bill Self said: “He has to be close to making the team. I think Tarik was a totally different player after Christmas (last season when he averaged 5.5 points and 3.9 boards for 25-10 KU). He was not effective early. He fouled all the time. When Jo (Joel Embiid) started starting for us, I thought Tarik got better. He was a really good player by the end of the year.”

Wiggins has bruised back: Former KU guard Andrew Wiggins has missed the Minnesota Timberwolves’ last three exhibition games because of a back bruise. He’s expected to be fine for the start of the regular season Wednesday.

Rabb cuts list: Ivan Rabb, a 6-10 senior forward from Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland, California, has cut his list of schools to five — KU, Arizona, California, Kentucky and UCLA, ESPN reports. On Friday, Rivals.com’s No. 7-rated player eliminated North Carolina and Georgetown.

Rabb will visit Kentucky this weekend and KU the following weekend.

“I like the way Kansas develops their post players, and I like their high-low offense. My relationship with head coach Bill Self has really gotten strong over the past few months. He is an energetic coach,” Rabb told ESPN.

UCLA visitors: UCLA will host four of KU’s recruiting targets the next two weekends. Stephen Zimmerman and Brandon Ingram, who are ranked Nos. 10 and 18, will visit this weekend, and No. 2 Jaylen Brown and No. 14 Carlton Bragg next weekend.

Zimmerman is a 7-foot forward from Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas; Ingram a 6-8 wing from Kinston (North Carolina) High; Brown a 6-7 wing from Wheeler High in Marietta, Georgia and Bragg a 6-9 forward from Villa Angela St. Joseph in Cleveland.

“Kids who grow up in southern California dream of going to UCLA,” one Pac-12 assistant coach told ESPN. “But it’s not as easy for them (recruiting) as it used to be.”

Tough talk: The Journal-World recently asked the 2014-15 Jayhawks “who are KU’s toughest players?”

Conner Frankamp: “I’d probably say this year it’s Wayne (Selden). Wayne is tough. Perry (Ellis) is getting a lot tougher. Perry’s been playing real well. We’re trying to get more tough as one unit. I feel that will help us a lot this year.”

Brannen Greene: “I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily a toughest guy. Toughness isn’t necessarily physical, it’s mental. I can’t get inside the brains of all my teammates, so I feel overall we’re a tougher group. We want to be tougher. It’s all about want-to.

“We want to be the team that hits the other team in the mouth first. We feel that didn’t happen enough last year. That kind of hurt us.”

Wayne Selden: “Frank (Mason), Devonté, Jamari (Traylor), the list goes on. Landen (Lucas), Tyler (Self). We’ve got a pretty tough team. Holding each other accountable is the biggest thing. Being able to tell somebody they are not doing something right, that they are not going 100 percent.”

Comments

Adam McEwen 6 years ago

NBA ain't for this guy, I've always thought he would be a beast in the NFL, red zone specialist. Name one guy who could stop him on a fade route. Automatic 6 every time.

Walter Bridges 6 years ago

6.2 ppg and 6.8 rpg will get you into the NBA. I realize that's preseason numbers.

I do agree that the NFL could very well be in his future ala Antonio Gates and others. No such thing as automatic. Aqib Talib

Adam McEwen 6 years ago

He's huge, he can run, good hands, great athleticism. It's a no brainer.

Gary Bedore 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Joe Ross 6 years ago

Gary Bedore 4 hours, 21 minutes ago This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

MIND EXPLOSION

Gary Bedore 6 years ago

I removed it, Joe. Tarik wants to play basketball; he's just not interested in football is basically what I wrote.

Tom Longhofer 6 years ago

I would like to see Black (and every other Jayhawk) in the NBA, but these days there are so many foreign countries that have pro basketball for good pay that it's not the "all or nothing" proposition that it used to be. There will be some team somewhere that needs Tarik Black.

Suzi Marshall 6 years ago

Houston is a harder than normal team for a rookie to make. McHale hates rookies and has stated many times his distain. See his comments about Markus Morris.

Robert Brock 6 years ago

I hope Conner is right about Perry becoming tougher. Last year's defense was SOFT and Perry was a big part of the problem.

Joseph Bullock 6 years ago

Perrys defense has surely improved. but many times, last year, our bigs looked bad on defense, because our point guard had a break down, and it put everyone out of position. you heard nothing but great things about Perry, at the KD, Lebron, and Niki camps, so let's see how things unfold this season. If Perry has gotten tougher (as Conner says), and if Perry is our most consistent player, thus far (as coach Self says), his defense has surely improved. And Tom, you are very correct, is saying their are lots of other options, professionally, for players. In fact, a lot of players make a lot more overseas, than they could make in the NBA. I'm thinking there is a ex K.U. player, who has turned down the NBA, several times, and is playing in another Country, because he makes so much more money there, but I can't remember who it is. Help me out here, someone.

Jack Wilson 6 years ago

Maybe Keith Langford?

On Perry's defense, his issues had nothing to do with the point guard (Tharpe) breaking down. You are right, Tharpe's defense compromised everything. When your guy out top can't stop guys from getting in the lane, the whole thing collapses.

But Ellis' main issue, in my opinion, has been holding his space. He gets pushed around resulting in high percentage scoring opportunities. He doesn't establish a presence with physicality.Kind of the picture of a finesse player. But some of that -- scrapping for the ball for example -- can improve.

The point you made though about the point guard defense will improve everything. If those issues can be improved, the whole entire defense will be better.

Walter Bridges 6 years ago

You got it. I think Kuan has turned down the NBA also but I think Keith had the better shot.

Jonathan Allison 6 years ago

Kaun was drafted in the late 2nd round of the NBA draft. He translated at best as a defensive oriented PF/C in the NBA, and there's a good chance that he would have never stuck in the NBA and never earned more than the league minimum. Instead he made a 7 figure salary from day 1 to play in his native Russia and is a star. Definitely paid off for Kaun, but obviously it's a different scenario because Kaun is Russian and Black is from Memphis.

Shane Johnston 6 years ago

Perry's court awareness was just really poor at times last year playing defense. Especially in transition. There were a number of times in the Bahamas where he'd run up the court without seeing the ball and opposing point guards, attacking, would be feet away, staring straight at Perry's back. Hopefully an extra year will slow things down for him.

Aaron Paisley 6 years ago

The Rockets aren't going to cut Black, but he won't be with the Rockets either, he'll be down with Rio Grande Valley in the D-League.

Also, Black won't play in the NFL because he's too tall and his knees would last about 3 years at most with the hits he would take. There's are reason 6-6 is about as tall as you see from non linemen.

Walter Bridges 6 years ago

Harold Carmichael was the exception at 6'8.

How about 'Too Tall' Tarik? Its got a ring to it.

Jonathan Allison 6 years ago

Aaron, this is what I think will happen too.

Previously though I thought that I read that Black's 2 year deal was guaranteed, and the only thing was wasn't guaranteed was whether he'd play in the Toyota center or in State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, TX.

Walter Bridges 6 years ago

Noticed Rabb cut UNC from his recruiting list. That might be a common theme for the next year or two.

And a prediction. This year's most improved player will be Jamari Traylor.

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