Friday, January 24, 2014

KU’s Black feeling the love, and feeling better, after sprain

Kansas forward Tarik Black is helped off the court by assistant coach Jerrance Howard, right, and trainer Bill Cowgill after sustaining an injury during the second half on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Tarik Black is helped off the court by assistant coach Jerrance Howard, right, and trainer Bill Cowgill after sustaining an injury during the second half on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Silence gripped Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night as Kansas University senior forward Tarik Black sat on the floor, wincing in pain after spraining his right ankle in a 78-68 victory over Baylor.

There was hearty applause as Black walked to the locker room under his own power with 3:13 left to play. He has received plenty of well-wishes on campus ever since.

“I appreciate all the love,” said the 6-foot-9, 260-pounder from Memphis, who was hurt when BU’s Rico Gathers landed on Black’s ankle in a scrum for a rebound.

“I got a message on Twitter saying, ‘We pray for you and your ankle, your leg ... hoping you get better.’ It’s obviously been working because I’m here walking around now. I saw the replay of what happened. I know it could have been much worse so the prayers have worked. I’m blessed to be standing here right now. I’m progressing at a fast rate. I can’t complain at all.”

Black was able to practice in non-contact drills on Thursday and is expected to play in Saturday’s 8 p.m. contest at TCU.

“It’s really cool and one of the reasons I came here in the first place,” Black said of the interest of fans about all matters involving KU hoops. “I felt the family atmosphere the first time I came here on my visit. I felt it was really caring, felt it was a trustworthy program. It started with the coach (Bill Self). It’s how it is.”

Black had two points and a rebound against Baylor after scoring eight points with two boards in last Saturday’s win over Oklahoma State. He has been an effective big man off the bench for the Jayhawks (14-4, 5-0) since relinquishing his starting spot to Joel Embiid in KU’s ninth game of the season.

“His minutes have been limited in large part because Joel has gotten better, but he’s been much better in my opinion, I think everybody would agree, since Christmas,” Self said. “He had 17 (points, six boards) against Georgetown coming off the bench ... (more) than what he was as a starter.

“When you’ve got two fouls with 17 minutes left in the first half most every game (when he started), it’s hard to get in a flow. But now he gets two fouls and there’s only 11 minutes left because he’s coming off the bench, so maybe that makes him feel a little better. I like what he’s given us off the bench: energy and toughness and rebounding.”

Black said he’ll do whatever he’s asked to do.

“I’m blessed beyond measure to be out here playing for this program,” he said. “I’ll do anything to help this team win. That’s my role on this team. That should be everyone’s role. We are all here to help this team win.”

Last year revisited: No. 5-ranked KU hit 29.5 percent of its shots in a 62-55 loss to TCU on Feb. 6, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas. TCU was 0-8 in league play at the time.

“It is, without question, one of the strangest games that I’ve ever been a part of. And I’ve been a part of some strange games,” Self said. KU had 13 points at halftime.

“I was reminded today by one of our coaches, saying, ‘Bill, I don’t know if you remember, that’s the most ready to play we’ve been all year. Best practices, most intense warm-up, everybody focused and we came out and laid an egg.’”

That was the night Self uttered the quote: “It’s the worst team Kansas has ever put on the floor since Dr. Naismith was here. I think he had some bad teams when he lost to Topeka YMCA in his first couple years.”

“Honestly I didn’t mean that in a negative way toward TCU. We had two teams whip us last year: TCU and Baylor. Everybody else was a one-possession game, of our other four losses,” Self said.

KU wanted Karviar: KU recruited TCU freshman Karviar Shepherd, 6-10 from Dallas Prime Prep Academy, who is averaging 8.4 points and 7.6 boards.

“It’s weird how things work out. We offered Karviar a scholarship, and we only had one to give, and if he’d have taken it, then we would have been out on Joel (Embiid),” Self said. “That’s how recruiting works sometimes. You recruit a couple of guys, and the timing needs to be right. I think he’s got a chance to be very, very good.”

The rotation: “I told our guys yesterday, we’re still a team that hasn’t figured it out yet. If we’ve figured it out yet, then why are we playing 10 guys? You don’t need to play 10 guys, or need to play nine guys,” Self said. “You need a fifth guy to come through, and really when the fifth guy comes through, there’s really no need to play a sixth, unless fouls or injuries dictate that you do so.

“One day seems like Conner (Frankamp) gives us a spark, another day it’s Brannen (Greene) that gives us a spark. We haven’t played our two bigs together much at all, but when they have played together limited minutes, they’ve played well. That’s something else that we can maybe do.”

Monitor talk: The officials went to the monitor twice in the Baylor game to check for flagrant fouls. None were discovered.

“The second time they only went to the monitor because I told them to, because they went to the monitor because he told them to,” Self said of opposing coach Scott Drew. “I knew there was nothing. I just wanted to do it. Because that’s how the game started. I think it slows the game up too much. We’re going to the monitors, but it’s not the officials’ fault because the rules say to do that. I think we’re going to the monitor way, way, way too much.”

Academics: All KU players are eligible second semester: “Everybody took care of their business,” Self said of grades. “I was pretty proud of how they did, especially (because) that was a bad travel first semester. We never miss school like that, especially leading right up into finals.”

Luc’s take: Minnesota Timberwolves forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute discovered Joel Embiid at a camp in Cameroon when Embiid was 17. He was impressed and convinced Embiid’s dad to send Joel to the U.S. to play high school ball.

“Those were moves that guys who had been playing for years were making,” Mbah a Moute told the Wall Street Journal in a story published Thursday. “I think he could play in the NBA right now,” Mbah a Moute added.


Sean Doherty 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm so proud of the KU fan base, We love all of our players Tarik! Whether they are 5 year players or transfers such as yourself. Once a Jayhawk, always a Jayhawk! FOE!

Ken Sedgwick 8 years, 10 months ago

Look here Luc, we know how good Joel is. We don't need any outside opinions unless they are the same as ours. :-)

Titus Canby 8 years, 10 months ago

Tarik is probably my favorite player on the team. What a great attitude.

I've been wondering… since he's a senior but only here at KU for one year, will he get to speak on Senior Night?

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 10 months ago

Interesting thought, since he graduated Memphis as a junior. Now he is a grad student. Technically no senior season, but Im hoping Self lets him speak on Senior Night!

Cameron Cederlind 8 years, 10 months ago

"We haven’t played our two bigs together much at all"

Is he referring to Embiid and Black?

Jeremy Paul 8 years, 10 months ago

I'll say this again (and then wait for everyone to tell me I'm wrong): I think Black is the most important guy on the team. He's a seasoned veteran who the freshmen can look up to for leadership and guidance, and who can put them in their place when they pout. He seems like a great guy, and I'm glad he's a Jayhawk, and he'll look great in a Chiefs uniform next year.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 10 months ago


1] Mbah.....ssshhhhhh!!.... [in whispering tones] - "Luc, we want him to stay one more year!"

2] Our front line is like a violent storm..LIGHTNING [Jo Jo and Perry] and THUNDER [Tarik and Jamari].

3] Let's hope things go better in TCU this year....I sure hope a Jayhawk is not allergic to a Horned Frog!

4] Embiid goes to the NBA = Turner to Kansas/ Embiid stays at Kansas = 2015 National Championship. If Turner wasn't waiting for Jo Jo's next move, he would have declared by now.

5] The "SWEET" line-up continues to roll...Selden, Wiggins, Embiid, Ellis, Tharpe!!

6] If this was hockey, Jo Jo would be the goalie, Wiggins and Ellis would be the wings, Selden would be the defenseman, Tharpe would be the center and Black would be the enforcer!

7] PERSONAL GRIPE - There are no "ex-Jayhawks", just as we are all Jayhawk Alums, so are all of our departed athletes. It just burns my hide to see the"EX" phrase in print. As Sean has so eloquently put it, once a Jayhawk always a Jayhawk [unless you do somehing to disgrace the name and therefore forfeit the right i.e. Giles or Giddens for example].

8] I think the game is going to be ugly with KU winning 71 - 60.

9] I can't help but wonder how many of the poster names are real..for example, Titus Canby sounds like a character from a Jane Austen is cool, however!

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 10 months ago

2) Self said in his last interview he wanted to mix Thunder (Black) and Lightning (Embiid). Look for it Saturday night.

6) Traylor? Enforcer II? I view Black and Traylor like Batman and Robin...the Dynamic Duo.

7) Once a Jayhawk alwasy a Jayhawk...some, like Sebilius, are less talked about.

9) How about that name...Tony "The Banditto" Bandle.

Titus Canby 8 years, 10 months ago

7) I've always thought the same thing Oakville. Once a Jayhawk always a Jayhawk. And I agree with your exceptions. 9) Thanks for the compliment. But can I be a Clint Eastwood character instead of a Jane Austen character?

Allen Shepard 8 years, 10 months ago

i get so frustrated with Bill reading, reading things like this. Don't get me wrong, i'm grateful for all our success.


We have the bodies and talent to press and throw a full line switch at them. We have 12 guys capable of giving solid minutes!!!

What a waste.

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 10 months ago

I think Self wants the starters (who are starters for a reason) to get the most mpg, since they are the best players. Players also need to figure out the opponent and adjust...hard to do if you are doing waves of mass substitutions.

And, many coaches share this philosophy. And your Bill Self is one of them, so the fanbase should have adjusted to this by now, I would think? Nothing new here, regarding Self's philosophies. With his best-in-Div.1 win totals the last 6yrs running, why should he change?

I wish people could ask their armchair questions directly to Self...but I also wonder if Self could maintain his patience after having to shoot each theory down, one after another....Different season, same questions. Now 10yrs at KU, but same old questions. Let me pick his answer from the news stories: "We are not a pressing team. We may 'show' a press occasionally, but we will never be a pressing team. Gives up too many easy buckets."

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