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Arkansas-bound Anthony Black on Duncanville season: 'They brought my dog back out'

SBLive caught up with Black at the Nike Hoop Summit about his transfer to Duncanville (Tex.), bonding with fellow Arkansas commits

PORTLAND, Ore. — Anthony Black's most formative moments in his season at Duncanville High School (Tex.) weren't hoisting up the program's third UIL Class 6A state championship trophy in a row, nor was it the tumultuous eligibility battle that saw his playing status waver until late January.

They were moments between him and the Duncanville coaching staff, and they happened at practice, when nobody else was watching — and have helped define the player Black is realizing he can become.

"Really, they brought my dog back out," Black said. "I was starting to lose it a little bit. I’m not ashamed to say it. It’s true. I was starting to lose it and get, not complacent, but just chill, and they really put me in position to be a leader to play with the ball in my hands. 

"They pretty much gave me the team and told me to win games."

Black, a 6-foot-7 guard, transferred to Duncanville for his senior season from Coppell, where he joined five-star forward Ron Holland, four-star wing Ashton Hardaway and more Division I prospects Cameron Barnes and Aric Demings.

A tall, broad-shouldered combo guard, Black is a high-ceiling prospect who On3 recruiting analyst Jamie Shaw describes as a smooth playmaker who can set up the offense and can shoot extending out to the 3-point line. 

He helped the Panthers, the No. 2 team in the nation in the SBLive/SI Power 25, win its third consecutive UIL Class 6A state championship, posted his most efficient season yet and vaulted to become a McDonald's All-American and ESPN's No. 20 2022 recruit in the nation.

Duncanville beat No. 1 Montverde on a Demings buzzer-beater and its only loss came at the hands of Texas power and area rival Richardson. He was named UIL Class 6A state tournament MVP as Duncanville logged a 20-point win over McKinney for its three-peat.

All in all, he called his transfer to Duncanville the "best decision I've made."

And the state title run?

"It was special," Black said. "We had a good team, we had a real close bond, losing one game that could have gone either way. Just playing a whole season like that with a team like that is special."

Leading the team in minutes per game, Black averaged 13.5 points on 51 percent shooting (41% from 3), 5.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game — his most efficient season yet, even if there was a slight dip from his junior year scoring.

He's one of the three McDonald's All-Americans going to Arkansas, where he's joining Jordan Walsh (Link Academy) and Nick Smith Jr. (North Little Rock) in Eric Musselman's No. 2 2022 class in the country. 

He first met Walsh, a Dallas native, at a CP3 basketball camp in middle school and said the two have been friends since. He's known of Smith Jr. for years, and has grown excited to play with the 6-foot-4 point guard the more time the two spent on and off the court at the McDonald's All-American Game and the Nike Hoop Summit.

"We see a lot of ourselves in each other — competitor, dog, winner," Black said of Smith Jr. "So we were always kind of close."

In Chicago at the McDonald's All-American Game in late March, the three spent a lot of time together. 

They were together when Black revealed his college decision by posing with a Razorbacks' baseball cap next to Smith jr. and Walsh at the Powerade Jamfest at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago. The extended time in Chicago also gave the three a time to spend off the court and talk about their much-anticipated freshman year at Arkansas. 

"We were just hanging out, talking, just saying we just need to come in, work and compete," Black said. "We’re all on the same page with that."

Black said he was tested and pushed mentally by the Duncanville coaching staff. When he felt himself starting to lose his edge on the court, the coaches empowered him to lead the team on the floor and in the locker room. 

His role went unchanged on the court. He had the ball in his hands often, and his playmaking ability was heavily relied upon.

"They really pulled it out of me to be the ultimate leader," Black said.