Skip to main content

SI99 PG Anthony Black Primed to Make Decision

Black will decide between Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Gonzaga, TCU and the G League.

CHICAGO – Anthony Black isn’t so far removed from his time as an unknown prospect trying to implement tunnel vision on his come up that he’s lost touch.

On the off chance he needs a humbling reminder, Black sneaks a peak at the screenshot in his phone of his first-ever national ranking, which dropped a year and a half ago.

“I was right around No. 200,” Black said. “I saved it because I knew I was better than that. It motivated me to go harder. I just focused on dominating and the rest took care of itself. I felt like I would get there, but, yeah, this is still pretty wild that I’m actually living out my dreams.”

That’s why you’ll have to excuse Black for being a bit speechless when asked about how it feels to be featured on national TV tonight during the telecast of the POWERADE Jam Fest to announce to the world where he’ll be playing next season.

Black is the highest ranked prospect in the McDonald’s All American Game, No. 12 overall in the SI99, who has yet to decide.

He’ll choose between Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Gonzaga, TCU and the G League, before suiting up in the game Tuesday.

“It’s a big moment,” Black said. “I can’t say I saw all of this for myself. I just knew I was gonna work hard and be OK with the results. But here I am. It feels good. It’ll feel even better when I decide.”

Until now, intel regarding Black’s recruitment has been hard to come by. He cut off media during the high school season “to focus on winning a state title,” but kept in touch with the coaches recruiting him behind the scenes.

“Nothing too serious,” Black said. “I didn’t want them texting me all day every day, but I knew it was important to keep communicating with them to build the relationship.”

On March 12, Black accomplished the mission, scoring 17 points to lead Duncanville (Texas) past McKinney (Texas) 69-49 for the 6A state title, and claiming the No. 2 spot in the SB Live/Sports Illustrated Power 25 national rankings.

Yet, as he and the Panthers celebrated their third consecutive state title and his MVP trophy, a shade of unrest loomed as Black thought about stepping into his next task.

“I knew it was time to have some tough conversations,” Black said. “Of course, I talked about it during the season with my people, but it was time to really dig into it.”

Three days later, while he and his family were watching an NBA game on TV, Black struck up an organic conversation about his next step.

The key topics?

Anthony Black

Anthony Black has been impressive in the McDonald's AA practices this week.

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

Fit, opportunity, having the ball in his hands and overall style of play.

The irony is that the more Black and his family made their points about each school, the clearer it became that he’d zeroed-in on four college options that checked all of those boxes.

“That just made it harder,” Black said. “All of the schools have all of that, which makes sense because that’s why I picked them. It’s really all about where I felt the most comfortable, and that wasn’t making it any easier.”

To further complicate things, Black “loved” the thought of 24/7 basketball, trading in mandatory study hall for constant film sessions and training from NBA skills trainers and veterans.

“You eat, sleep and breathe basketball in the G League,” Black said. “I don’t think there’s a better place to go and get prepared. The G League just gives you so much.”

That said, March is king and while Black is sold on the idea of optimal improvement as he pursues his dream of playing in the NBA, he’s clear on which option offers the biggest stage.

“Oh man, it’s definitely March Madness,” Black said. “I love the idea of fighting to win a national title. It’s about tradition and it’s huge for your stock if you’re playing well. It’s a tough decision. People hear that a lot, but it’s one of those things that you can’t really understand unless you experience it.”

From researching which coaches have put big guards in the NBA to picking the brains of former guards at different schools, Black’s mother, Jennifer, has spearheaded the gathering of extensive intel on all his options, sorting through the details with her son and sifting through the pros and cons of each.

The impromptu family talk left her “confident” about whichever route Black ultimately decides on.

“I just believe in him, and I know he’s gonna be good wherever he goes,” Jennifer said. “He’s not super decisive as a kid in general, so that makes it harder. The good thing is, he’s got great options and he can’t go wrong with any of them. I trust him to make a decision, not based on emotions, but on things that matter.”

The relentless pursuit from the G League and college basketball heavyweights like Mark Few, Eric Musselman and Mike Boynton is understandable for a player who makes you a national title contender the day he walks onto campus.

Black is a 6’7”, 185-pound devastating combination length and skill at the point, giving opposing guards fits on both ends of the floor. His feel and IQ are exceptional, and he thrives in both transition and in the halfcourt set.

His high motor is infectious and he’s an elite athlete with impeccable anticipation as a passer and defender, which have drawn comparisons to Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

No surprise that he was on a shortlist of prospects who turned the heads of the massive contingent of NBA personnel on hand during McDonald’s All American practices this week.

“I try and keep things in perspective and just have fun,” Black said. “That part is easy because I just love the game. I try not to let this decision stress me out because I remember where I came from. I know I’ll make the right decision in the end.”