Rechon “Leaky” Black has had better games in terms of scoring, dishing assists and wreaking havoc with his defense. But the Concord High sophomore had the most memorable night of his high school basketball career Friday after the Spiders’ 74-65 home victory over Hickory Ridge.
Immediately after the game, Black, the No. 1-ranked sophomore boys’ basketball player in the state by Phenom Hoop Report and other publications, announced his verbal commitment to play collegiately at UNC-Chapel Hill.
“I feel like it’s the best fit for me and my family,” said the 6-foot, 7-inch Black. “(UNC coach) Roy (Williams) said he was going to let me play point guard when I got up there, so I feel like I can do my best up there.”
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Black’s decision may have been the worst-kept secret in Concord over recent days. When it was revealed that he would make a commitment this week, speculation grew that the Tar Heels would be his choice.
The buzz started on Dec. 7, when Williams showed up at Hickory Ridge for the season’s first meeting between the Spiders and the Ragin’ Bulls. Black scored just six points in Concord’s 72-67 loss.
However, Spiders first-year coach Jason Stowe said Carolina offered Black a scholarship two days later. Stowe added that among the college programs that offered Black scholarships were Clemson, Virginia Tech, Charlotte and Wake Forest.
Black said Duke made an offer Thursday night. However, Black said he narrowed his choices to UNC and Wake Forest.
“If (Duke) really wanted me, they would have made me a priority overall,” said Black. “So I feel Carolina is the best fit.
“I feel like everyone knew where I was going. It wasn’t that hard of a decision. I just wanted to get it over with. I got the weight off my shoulders so I can just relax and play ball and get my grades up so I can fit in up there.”
On Friday night, Black, who averages 13 points and eight assists, started and finished strong against Hickory Ridge (11-4 overall, 7-3 South Piedmont 3A Conference). He scored six points each in the first and fourth quarters, including 4-of-6 free throws in the closing minutes, to finish with 12 points.
Concord (13-2, 9-1) got major contributions from senior guard Ray Kowalski, junior post player Hamsah Nasirildeen, and senior guard Keenan Black, Leaky Black’s cousin.
Kowalski scored a game-high 25 points and made three 3-pointers. Nasirildeen was a force in the paint, adding 18 points including a thunderous driving dunk in the third quarter.
Leaky Black and Keenan Black scored 14 of the Spiders’ first 15 points, each hitting a pair of 3-pointers. Keenan Black finished with 11 points.
Avery Metcalf scored 13 of his team-high 21 points for Hickory Ridge in the fourth quarter. Javon Smith added 15 points, 11 in the second half.