Going through the ups and downs of the National Basketball Association, center Tarik Black has experienced his fair share of pressure. The fan favorite has seemed to have found a home in the Los Angeles Lakers and is relishing his opportunity to shine.
Entering his third season in the league, Black has a little more security compared to his rookie beginnings.
Fresh off his two-year, $12.85 million deal, Black finds himself with more of a media presence nowadays. Besides his strong presence on social media (@TarikBlack25), the 24-year-old recently conducted an interview with UnXommonvegas.com where he spilled details on his hometown, playing with Kobe Bryant and more importantly the relationship between him and head coach Luke Walton:
Q: How was playing for Luke back when he was an assistant at Memphis and compare it to now him being the head coach of the Lakers.
“Luke used to workout with us during the lock out and to see him practice was crazy. You know being young and in college you want to go all out all the time. Just give it your all every workout and Luke really showed up how to do it properly. How to maximize our workout and to lift before we played. He played a ton of three and four ball mostly and to watch him have so much composure really helped me. He helped me learn that next level of basketball and what to really expect. I remember our first conversation was about keeping it going.”
Walton and Black share a unique relationship, as the pair was quite familiar with each other before Black even declared for the NBA Draft.
The 6’9″ backup center transferred his senior year to the University of Kansas, but spent his first three seasons of eligibility at the University of Memphis. While at Memphis, Black averaged 9.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
The production from the athletic big can be attributed to the hard work he put in during his collegiate career, which is where he met Walton.
Before the head coach of the Lakers set out for NBA coaching experience, he resided as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis during the 2011 NBA lockout. He remained at the university until the end of the lockout, to which he returned to the NBA.
Walton relished his time under Memphis coach Josh Pastner, even taking any losses with the program to heart. When the team was eliminated from the Maui Invitational, Walton was visibly upset in the locker room.
Fellow assistant Jack Murphy equated Walton’s reaction to that of losing Game 7 of a playoff series, a testament to Walton’s desire to win.
As Walton enters his rookie season as a head coach with the Lakers, he can rely on some familiar faces to make the process easier.
Black will enter his third season in the NBA with career averages of five points, 5.1 rebounds and 0.4 blocks per game.