When Tarik Black transferred to Kansas back in May, the perception was that the former Memphis Tiger would contribute experience, stability, and strength down low while the Jayhawks developed Perry Ellis into a consistent threat and showed Joel Embiid what it took to succeed at the college level. Kansas needed to rebuild its frontcourt after Jeff Withey and Kevin Young graduated, and Black was going to be relied upon to do for Bill Self what several players have done for coaches looking to the NCAA’s post-graduate transfer rule for help with roster turnover: provide a leg up and buy the staff time to develop its younger pieces. Then the season started, but a weird thing happened. Black sat and sat and sat.
Unable to stay out of foul trouble, Black played just six minutes against Duke in Kansas’ biggest game of their non-conference slate. He played eight minutes in the team’s first loss, a 63-59 defeat at the hands of Villanova. He committed at least three fouls in six of his first seven games and seven of his first eight as a Jayhawk. Even when given extended minutes, he struggled to stay productive, missing close looks, while Embiid showed such accelerated development that he earned Black’s spot in the starting lineup. As a point of reference, when Embiid started playing organized basketball three years ago, Black was beginning his collegiate career after committing to Memphis as a highly-touted prospect. Read the rest of this entry »