Black returning for a fifth UNC season

By R.L. Bynum

Leaky Black announced on social media Friday that he will use his extra year of eligibility to return to Carolina next season.

Black has played four seasons for the Tar Heels and is taking advantage of his COVID year the NCAA is giving players who played during the 2020–21 pandemic season. The news comes two days after center Armando Bacot announced that he would return for his senior season.

His return gives UNC one of the best defensive players in the country, a lockdown defender who frustrated one big scorer after another all season while contributing more offense as the season wore on.

“I can’t think of anybody better to coach and be around every day than Leaky,” Coach Hubert Davis said. “His passion for this program, this university, team and basketball is what drives him and what has driven him to come back for another season. He’s the best defensive player in the country. His commitment, leadership and personality are what keeps this team so close. I’m looking forward to Leaky building on the unbelievable season he had this year, and I’m looking forward to him cementing his legacy on this program even more than he already has.”

UNC is holding at the 13-scholarship limit, but there are still player decisions to come.

The 6–8 forward averaged 4.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists while collecting 34 steals and 26 blocks in 38 games. He is one of four Tar Heels in program history with 600 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists, 100 steals and 50 blocks in his career.

In a social media video, he read a letter to his freshman self.

“It will be an amazing four years and here’s the even better part, you get to do it for a fifth year,” Black said. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. But just know that you’ll get the opportunity to play the fifth year at Carolina. Don’t take one moment of this experience for granted. Don’t take one game that you put in North Carolina jersey on for granted.”

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After scoring only 31 3-pointers in his first three seasons, he notched 17 last season.

“In the next four years, we struggled. There were times when we weren’t sure basketball was worth it,” Black said in the message to his freshman self.  “It would be hard. But we would be stronger because of it. We learned so much about people and about yourself. We would learn not to read the comments. You will learn how much your family means to you and how important these people are that support you.”

Potential UNC 2022–23 roster

YearPlayerPHeightWeight
Jr.RJ DavisPG6–0175
Fr.Seth TrimblePG6–3185
Jr.Caleb Love26–4195
Soph.D’Marco Dunn36–4185
Jr.Kerwin Walton36–5210
Jr.Puff Johnson36–8205
5th yearLeaky Black36–8200
Soph.Dontrez Styles46–6210
JuniorJustin McKoy46–8220
Fr.Tyler Nickel46–8210
Fr.Jalen Washington46–9210
Sr.Armando Bacot56–10240
Fr.Will Shaver56–10265
Walk-ons
Soph.Creighton LeboG6–1170
Sr.Jackson WatkinsG6–1175
Jr.Rob LandryG6–4195
Sr.Duwe FarrisF6–6215

Photo via @UNC_Basketball

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