Just two days after leaving practice and missing Memphis’ win over UT-Martin on Thursday night, junior power forward Tarik Black made his return to practice on Friday according to multiple media outlets.
Black, who is averaging 10.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, was given time to figure things out according to head coach Josh Pastner and it seems as if Black has done that.
Memphis shot 52.2% from the field in their 93-65 win over UT-Martin, with Shaq Goodwin putting up 17 points and 12 rebounds, but even with that result the Tigers will need Black in order to reach their full potential. And Black will need to be ready to do that, both physically and mentally.
“It was a buildup of things, just being honest. I’m not one for really complaining or stressing my issues and things that are on my mind,” Black said. “That can be a blessing, because that’s a leadership quality. You have to endure things, keep pushing, keep moving and keep motivating.
“But at the same time, it can also be a burden because you go home everyday and you’re the one that’s dealing with something and nobody else knows. … At some point, I’m only human, so it’s going to come out. It just so happened that after this three-year period it came out.”
In the days following Memphis’ 1-2 showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis the Tigers went through some tough practices and according to reports Black didn’t respond well, triggering the decision to hold him out of Thursday’s game.
While Memphis UT-Martin without Black they’ll clearly need the junior at his best not only when they take on the likes of Louisville (December 15) and Tennessee (January 4), but also if they’re to accomplish anything of note in March.
Memphis hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game during Pastner’s tenure, and given the talent at his disposal fans are expecting more in 2012-13. Such hopes can be torpedoed by having to deal with issues such as this one, so if anything it’s good that Black had this problem in late November instead of later in the season.
A preseason All-Conference USA selection, Black is expected to be one of the leaders for a Memphis team that in addition to its upperclassmen is also expecting contributions from sophomore Adonis Thomas and freshman Shaq Goodwin. For Memphis’ sake hopefully this is the last time they have to deal with this kind of an issue.