Here's what type of player KU is getting in Tarik Black

Former Memphis forward Tarik Black will be transferring to Kansas University, the school announced Monday.

Former Memphis forward Tarik Black will be transferring to Kansas University, the school announced Monday.

There's a saying in baseball that goes, "There's no such thing as a bad one-year contact."

If you were wondering why teams like Duke and Kansas were in on Memphis forward Tarik Black, who started just five games for the Tigers a year ago, it's mostly because of this same concept.

Because Black has graduated and will be eligible immediately, he essentially became like a one-year contract player. A team with a hole on its roster — and an extra scholarship it wasn't going to use anyway — had nothing to lose in recruiting Black.

The commitment gives KU additional depth in the post, where the Jayhawks have quite a few options but not many proven ones.

As you'll see from his numbers, Black comes to KU as an interesting project: A player that has shown distinct strengths while at the same time being held back by glaring weaknesses.


Two-point shooting: Black has been an excellent field-goal shooter during his entire career, peaking during his sophomore year when his 68.9 effective field-goal percentage ranked second nationally.

One of the reasons for his success is shot selection. The last two years, he took just 17.4 and 18.5 percent of Memphis' shots when he was on the floor.

Breaking it down further, Black is a player that is especially lethal at the rim. Here are his numbers on layups/dunks/tipins from

Black's shots at rim

Black's shots at rim by Jesse Newell

To give you an idea of how successful Black was at the rim ... no KU rotation player in the last three seasons had a field-goal percentage of 79 percent on close shots (the highest was 77 percent from Travis Releford last year).

Black isn't bad when he shoots two-point jumpers, either, as you can see from the middle column below.

Black on two-point jumpshots

Black on two-point jumpshots by Jesse Newell

The forward was an above-average two-point jump-shooter in each of his last two seasons, but also be aware that most of his shots were assisted by teammates. KU's Kevin Young and Jeff Withey both had a high percentage of their two-point jumpers assisted last year (73 percent each), and both players were mostly reliant on others to get their points.

A similar high number in that stat from Black — and his low shot percentage overall — means he's not a guy that creates his own shot often.

• Getting to the free-throw line: One of Black's best offensive skills is getting fouled, as last season, he drew 5.2 opponent whistles per 40 minutes (197th nationally). That trait has led to a high free-throw count for the forward each year. During his sophomore year, he posted the nation's 29th-best free-throw rate (68.4), and he wasn't far behind that number last year (66.3).

Offensive rebounding: Black has proven to be a tough guy to keep off the offensive glass. After grabbing 14.3 percent of the available offensive rebounds his freshman year, Black pulled down 10.8 percent (247th nationally) his sophomore year and 10.1 percent (302nd nationally) his junior year. Kevin Young (13.2 percent) and Perry Ellis (11.4 percent in limited time) were the only Jayhawks to post higher offensive rebounding percentages than Black a year ago.

Shot-blocking: Though Black didn't block as many shots as a junior, he showed the ability to be a greater defensive presence his first two years. During his freshman year, he blocked 7.3 percent of opponents' twos (79th nationally), and his sophomore year, he rejected 6.2 percent of those attempts (113th nationally). Though that percentage dropped to 3.1 percent his junior year, you'd have to figure Black still has the ability — based on the past — to have some defensive impact in the paint.


Free-throw shooting: After posting a strong 119.5 offensive rating his sophomore year, Black's offensive rating plummeted to a mediocre 100.8 last season.

The biggest reason? Free-throw shooting.

Black's free-throw percentages

Black's free-throw percentages by Jesse Newell

Black's 44.8-percent free-throw shooting was the seventh-worst out of 724 NCAA players who shot 100 free throws or more.

If Black can even get back to a 59-percent free-throw shooter, he'll greatly enhance his offensive value.

Fouling: Black is a hacker, as he has committed at least 5 fouls per 40 minutes in each of his three seasons. Last year was his worst season in that regard, as he posted 6.3 fouls per 40 minutes — a number that would have been tops out of KU's rotation players a year ago (and even above that of Jamari Traylor at 6.1 fouls/40).

Defensive rebounding: Though Black has been strong on the offensive boards through his career, he's never excelled on the defensive glass.

After grabbing just 11.3 percent of the available defensive rebounds his freshman year and 12 percent his sophomore year, Black pulled down a career-high 16 percent his junior year. That percentage still wasn't good enough to crack the top 500 nationally.

Bottom line

Memphis forward Tarik Black dunks against Michigan State forward Adreian Payne (5) in the second half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament Saturday, March 23, 2013, in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Memphis forward Tarik Black dunks against Michigan State forward Adreian Payne (5) in the second half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament Saturday, March 23, 2013, in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Black provides KU with some additional depth at the 4 and 5 positions and also should help take some of the pressure off KU's young players in the post.

Though Perry Ellis' stats indicate he is ready for a bigger role, guys like incoming freshman Joel Embiid and sophomore Jamari Traylor (good defensive numbers but high turnover rate and limited offensive skills) will be able to ease their way into the rotation instead of being forced into it at the start of the season.

The Jayhawks aren't getting a go-to scorer in Black, but his skill-set might play well on a team like KU's next year, especially if mega-recruit Andrew Wiggins can draw defensive attention then dish to a guy who has been deadly when he gets it in close to the rim.

Because Self had an extra scholarship, this becomes a low-risk, potentially high-reward addition for the Jayhawks — all on a team-friendly, one-year contract.

More from Jesse Newell

  • Seen it? The nation's reaction to top recruit Andrew Wiggins choosing Kansas
  • Here's what type of player KU is getting in Hunter Mickelson
  • Ranking the top 10 dunks of 2012-13
  • How a fingertip, a late rotation and a great player contributed to Michigan's frantic comeback over KU
  • Five plays that show how Releford shut down Bullock — and how KU’s ‘D’ forced UNC into ‘one bad shot’
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    Ralster Jayhawk 11 months, 1 week ago

    Maybe we can turn him into a college-version of Zach Randolph, one of the hardest working/battling NBA bigs Ive seen in a while. Tarik showed nice post-seal and timing + footwork for the dunk in the example video above. Just a few second clip, but analytically it shows he does have fast feet, he did the work to get himself the ball with an easier assist, and in a manner that made it easier for himself to score. Gotta think with a lot of divided attention on KU's other 4 players on the floor, Tarik could be quite effective. And Bill Self's system of off-ball movement and screens can make a big much more effective--> the Darnell Jackson/Jeff Withey/Cole Aldrich Phenomenon. Realize TallJeff's not-the-greatest showing at the NBA combine simply revealed his 1on1 and physical limitations, not his ability to shine off screens, or on lob dunks, or as a devastating(!!!) help-defender, easily the best defensive big Self has ever had. Another poster said it well: Withey is a 5on5 player. Will be very effective in the right system. Tarik will arrive with a slightly different repertoire. Would be nice to see what 100+ FTs/day in practice all summer could do for to see him expand his repertoire...


    Ralster Jayhawk 11 months, 1 week ago

    Ive posted before about the concerning 44%FT, which could lead to hack-a-Black, but actually it may be only a 1yr aberration. New situation, new coach sometimes is exactly what may be needed. This isnt a juco transfer, but a top25 Div.1 transfer. Plus, like ALL Bill Self recruiting targets/commits, he knows Bill Self wont tolerate any laziness. I would like to see if his weight changed from frosh year to junior year. Also wondering what difference Hudy's conditioning program might make for Tarik. I am hoping he has a stellar year!


    Colby Hebert 11 months, 1 week ago

    At worst he is Kevin Young but an inch and half taller with 60 more pounds. Sold!!


    Janet Scott 11 months, 1 week ago

    Jesse, you beat me to releasing my similar assessment of Santa Claus: the pros, cons, and bottom line should Santa leave the North Pole and join the varsity bball team at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople. The pros (jolly guy, finishes strong) and cons (fat and slow when in chimneys) were easy to come by; its the bottom line on Santa that I'm struggling with tonight.


    Neom 11 months, 1 week ago

    Anyone can graduate in 3 years is respectable, regardless what school or major.


    Shaun Hardie 11 months, 1 week ago

    Is it too early for Championship or Bust t-shirts? Seriously, with the addition of Black this team is oozing with talented pieces. Hopefully this team gels overt the off-season and come into the fall ready to lay claim to another conference banner and play as Self calls it "high stakes" at the end of the year.


    jhawkrulz 11 months, 1 week ago

    I'll be interested in seeing how Perry Ellis does as well. Remember that last year a lot of doubling happened to Jeff Withey. Perry was able to score because he could beat his man from the outside driving in for scores. Without a double on JW, will Perry Ellis be closer to what he was at the beginning or end of last season. All I am saying is that we need the help in the frontcourt. The real questions I have is Lucas and Embiid. If both of them are solid than the jayhawks are in good hands.

    What about the advantage that Duke among others don't have a bruiser on their team. Even if he doesn't play a huge amount of minutes and is only a banger in practice, that is better than someone else having the player.


    Robbk1066 11 months, 1 week ago

    Again Jesse right on spot. Nice data too! Great Job!


    Brett McCabe 11 months, 1 week ago

    Jesse saves his most important point for last: Black could be deadly as Wiggins, Selden, Frankamp and Perry draw attention. This team has a lot of potential scorers.

    While Self said that people are sleeping on his other recruits, we might all do well to remember how effective Perry was at the end of the year. He's going to be a powerhouse this year.

    Finally, Black's FT percentage dropped off last year - when he was having difficulty with his coach. I expect to see him back at the 60% range this year. That's nothing to write home about but it's tolerable.


    Michael Auchard 11 months, 1 week ago

    Why mention free throw rate as a positive and then note how Tarik Black is a terrible free throw shooter in the next segment? That doesn't make sense to me unless the idea is to build to some advanced statistical idea -- something I didn't see here. I mean, if he's awful at shooting free throws then who cares how often he shoots them? Still, great article; always great to know the facts about new players.


    Scott Smetana 11 months, 1 week ago

    I'm thinking Jeff Graves. BIG body down low. Can't play him late in the half or game with that kind of FT%.


    Nathan Scholl 11 months, 1 week ago

    Nice informative article Jesse. Black sounds like a great get for team depth and added experience. Always glad to steal a player from Coach K (A.K.A. Gargamel)!


    vann_dango 11 months, 1 week ago

    I am excited to add another big man to our rotation, but.... can any one explain why his numbers dropped significantly in his JR year? I understand that his minutes were cut. Was he just under performing or does anyone know the issue was?


    William Blake 11 months, 1 week ago

    It never hurts to bring a man on board.

    Julius Randle... meet Tarik Black!


    Bob Forer 11 months, 1 week ago

    The guy sounds like Gravy Train in almost every aspect, including his poor free throwing. A Big Banger like this guy fits in nicely with the Bill Self style of basketball. A very nice get.


    Tom Gillaspie 11 months, 1 week ago

    On paper it sounds like a no lose situation. Hopefully he will mesh with the returning players early and get up to speed quickly. If nothing else it should be good for more competitive practices,


    KatnissHawk 11 months, 1 week ago

    Very nice assessment. For sure, to have a veteran in the lineup early on next year will pay eventual dividends in B-12 play and later. Nice addition to the mix.


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