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Memphis big man transfers to Kansas

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, May 20, 2013, at 5:48 p.m.

— Kansas has added another big body to a burgeoning roster overhaul.

Former Memphis big man Tarik Black has signed a grant-in-aid agreement to play basketball at Kansas, the school announced Tuesday.

Black, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound power forward, elected to leave Memphis after averaging 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season, his junior year. He graduated with a degree in organizational leadership earlier this month and will be eligible to play right away under the graduate-transfer rule.

"We received Tarik’s financial aid papers earlier today and we are thrilled he has chosen to play his final year of college basketball at KU,” KU coach Bill Self said. “He will be a huge addition both physically and emotionally, especially from a leadership standpoint, as he will be the most experienced guy on our team entering next season.”

In three seasons at Memphis, Black failed to live up to a lofty ceiling as a former top prospect. His best season came during his sophomore year in 2010-11, when he averaged 10.7 points and shot better than 68 percent from the field. But after announcing his desire to transfer, Black still drew interest from schools such as Duke and Georgetown.

In the equivalent of a free-agent process, Black could hand-pick his school of choice and play out his final college season without sitting out. And he’ll now have an opportunity to play in a Kansas system that has regularly churned out NBA big men.

“Tarik has played in a ton of big games and certainly has had good experience at Memphis,” Self said. “He’s used to winning and can help us in both of our big positions. He can play the four and the five and we look forward to moving him around. He’ll be an impact player that certainly changes the outlook of our team and makes us more versatile.”

Black could slot in as a bridge to incoming freshman Joel Embiid, a 7-foot center whose stocked soared during his final high school center. Black will also join a frontcourt that features sophomore power forwards Perry Ellis and redshirt freshman forward Landen Lucas.

The latest addition comes less than a week after Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 player in the class, signed with Kansas in a ceremony last Tuesday.

So not a bad week for Kansas, all things considered.

After losing four seniors and freshmen Ben McLemore to the NBA Draft, Self has restocked his roster by adding eight newcomers to the fold. The list includes a six-man freshmen class, highlighted by Wiggins, and Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson, who will sit out next season.

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