Leaky Black’s Debut NBA Starting Appearance

Carolina basketball graduate Leaky Black experienced his inaugural NBA starting role with the Charlotte Hornets, a moment that didn’t escape the attention of UNC’s head coach.

Hubert Davis, the head coach of North Carolina, stepped beyond the realm of college basketball this week to acknowledge a specific Tar Heel now in the NBA. While Davis’ weekly radio program aired on Monday evening, wing forward Leaky Black, renowned as UNC’s all-time leader in games played, was making his debut NBA start with the Charlotte Hornets. Initially assuming Davis might be unaware of this significant milestone for one of his former players, radio host Jones Angell was swiftly corrected by Davis himself.

Davis interjected, “Yes, he’s starting tonight,” as Angell began to inquire about Black’s progress. He quickly clarified, “I knew that, I did know that. Why did you think I wouldn’t know that? I was one of his coaches for five years; I would know that.”

Black was among numerous former UNC players who returned to the Smith Center to witness Carolina’s triumph over Duke, including Phil Ford, Tyler Hansbrough, Ed Cota, Antawn Jamison, Brice Johnson, and Luke Maye, among others. During halftime of the rivalry showdown, Hansbrough was honored for his recent induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

In his final season at Carolina, Black achieved a career-high of 7.3 points per game along with 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. He secured 130 starting roles out of his UNC-record 155 career games, predominantly serving as the defensive anchor for the Tar Heels’ 2021-22 squad, which advanced to the NCAA championship game. Despite going undrafted, Black signed a two-way contract with his hometown team, the Hornets.

Reflecting on Black’s journey, Coach Davis expressed his pride, recounting Black’s presence at the Duke game and his remarkable defensive skills. Despite modest statistics in his rookie NBA season, Black’s contributions on both ends of the floor haven’t gone unnoticed. In his debut start against the Los Angeles Lakers, Black demonstrated his versatility, contributing defensively and showcasing glimpses of his offensive capabilities. Coach Davis emphasized Black’s unique playing style and expressed excitement for his future in the NBA.

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