The Recruiting Guy:

Black mature during his recruitment

By: Richard Davenport Richard Davenport's Twitter account
Published: Sunday, April 24, 2022
Forward Anthony Black of Duncanville, Texas, signed a letter of intent to play at Arkansas on Wednesday after choosing the Razorbacks over offers from Gonzaga, TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas, Duke, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa State and others. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Forward Anthony Black of Duncanville, Texas, signed a letter of intent to play at Arkansas on Wednesday after choosing the Razorbacks over offers from Gonzaga, TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas, Duke, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa State and others. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

When ESPN 5-star prospect Anthony Black signed with the University of Arkansas on Wednesday, his decision was thoroughly researched.

His mother Jennifer said her son is a very analytical thinker and that carried over into the recruiting process and the decision to be a Razorback.

“He put a ton of thought into this and obviously didn’t rush the process,” Jennifer said. “I think he really feels good about his decision. Kind of went through every different channel we could as far as questions and choosing a program we really felt like that was going to fit his personality but also was going to help him reach his goals from individual and also a team standpoint.”

Black, 6-7, 185 pounds, of Duncanville, Texas, led the Panthers to a 35-1 record and a third consecutive Class 6A state championship. He earned MVP honors in the title game.

Black, Nick Smith Jr. and Jordan Walsh gave the Razorbacks three McDonald’s All Americans and three 5-star prospects. Six top-100 recruits signed with Coach Eric Musselman and Arkansas in the 2022 class.

“I think a big part of his decision came down to really wanting to feel like he was going to be in program that he’s pushed and obviously no one better than Muss to do that,” Jennifer Black said.

His senior season was full of adversity with his eligibility being in question by the University Interscholastic League, the governing body for Texas high school athletics, because his transfer from Coppell to Duncanville was deemed for athletic purposes.

Attending a prep school was considered, but Black chose to stay at Duncanville despite not knowing if he would be able to play.

“Anthony looked at me literally with tears rolling down his face and said, ‘Mom, we got to fight it. Even if we don’t win, we have to be a voice for other kids,’” Jennifer said.

Though he was able to play most of the regular season and the entire postseason, he missed some games. The process served as a learning experience.

“A big part of this is how to be a leader because he went from being with the starting five every day at practice to the being with the second five at practice and playing against the starting five,” Jennifer said.

Calling her son an old soul, Jennifer Black stayed strong and kept things in perspective.

“Throughout the year when I would get upset, he would look at me and say. ‘Mom, it’s not like I’m sick. I just can’t play basketball. There’s kids that have cancer. We have to keep this in perspective. Everything is going to be OK,’” she said.

ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi complimented Black’s maturity and his ability to focus while dealing with his eligibility.

“He did so for personal reasons,” Biancardi said of Black’s transfer. “I don’t understand why the state didn’t understand. It shows he can focus on a task and a project at hand and they presented him the MVP of the state championship game. I know he transferred there for personal reasons.”

Jennifer said Anthony knows what lies ahead at Arkansas and added assistants Keith Smart and Gus Argenal also helped her son’s decision.

“Trust us, we did our homework and not walk into this blindly,” Jennifer said. “I know this is going to be difficult. We know Muss is hard. We know he’s very demanding. I don’t think there’s going to be any shock value there for Anthony. We talked to just about every current and ex-player there are, so the writing is kind of on the wall. I really believe he [Musselman] believes in Anthony ,and I think for Anthony that’s really important.”

Jennifer, who played soccer at Texas and Baylor, is a fan of Musselman’s coaching style.

“He’s definitely a coach I would want to play for, but I had to keep reminding myself, ‘I’m not playing for him,’” she said. “I never swayed one way or another with Anthony.”

Biancardi said Razorback fans have a right to be excited about the addition of Black to the class.

“That can get people excited. They were already excited,” Biancardi said. “He’s brings a different level of excitement because he’s a star that fits in. He’s going to fit with Nick, he’s going to fit with Jordan. He’s going to fit with the other guys.

"He’s easy to play with, he’s a strong passer. A good defender.”

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