Leaky Black returning to North Carolina men's basketball for fifth year

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Friday, April 15, 2022

North Carolina wing Leaky Black is returning for a fifth year, available because of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing another boost to the Tar Heels after their run to the NCAA championship game.

The 6-foot-8, 200-pound Black announced his decision in a social-media video. The NCAA in October 2020 granted basketball and other winter-sports athletes in Division I an additional year of eligibility if they competed during the 2020-21 season.

Black is the Tar Heels' top defensive player, capable of defending multiple positions. He averaged 4.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a full-time starter.

"He's the best defensive player in the country," North Carolina coach Hubert Davis said in a statement. "His commitment, leadership and personality are what keeps this team so close."

Black's decision comes two days after big man Armando Bacot said he was coming back for his senior season instead of leaving to pursue a professional career. While floor-stretching big man Brady Manek will depart, Black and Bacot are set to join guard R.J. Davis as returning starters from a No. 8 seed that reached the NCAA final before falling to Kansas.

That core could grow stronger depending on the future plans of sophomore Caleb Love.

A potential second-round NBA draft prospect, the 6-4 guard averaged 15.9 points with fearless and game-changing scoring potential -- most notably his 27 second-half points against UCLA in the Sweet 16 and 28 points against Duke in the Final Four.

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