Can Anthony Black be a Top 5 pick in 2023 NBA Draft????
I am going to do a prospect breakdown on Class of 2022 Anthony Black. He's one of my favorite players to watch in high school basketball. I'll break down his strengths and weaknesses using video and what I saw at the Circuit Championship in Las Vegas. I will come to a conclusion on the question asked here. Hope folks enjoy it. I will start by saying I wish there was video breaking him down for defense. It could be used in a clinic teaching defensive principles.
Anthony Black, 6'7" point guard, Duncanville High School, Duncanville, TX, 3D Empire. Big Tim's #5 player in Class of 2022. 247 composite ranking of 21. 5 star recruit.
STRENGTHS: Athleticism is off the charts, he can dunk on you in the fast break, off a lob, or a half court set. He can do it off the dribble and will catch you right at the rim. I saw him dunk on guys at least three times at the Circuit Championships. Great lateral movement on defense.
DEFENSE: His defense is not talked about nearly enough. Black uses his athletic gifts on defense, as he's an intelligent defender, who knows when to hit passing lanes for steals and finishes. Quick hands as he swipes down on the ball and gets multiple steals. Versatility as a defender helps any coach because he can deploy him in a number of different ways. He can guard 5 positions in high school, and should be able to guard 4 on the next level. He's good at pressuring the ball or trapping the offensive player with his long arms and active feet. Rebounds well for his position as he's all over the defensive boards. He had to be for size challenged 3D Empire. It is an absolute clinic watching him on this end of the court.
OFFENSE: I list him as a point guard because I feel that is his future position, though he is versatile enough on offense to play 4 positions at that end of the court. He has shown he can bring the ball up court against pressure, set up the offense. Quick first step off the bounce going right or left. Uses pick and roll effectively going right or left. Once he gets past his man he uses his body to keep the defender behind him. This allows him to either go to the basket and score, or make good decisions with a pinpoint pass to a cutter, or a three point shooter for a catch and shoot. Makes great reads off the pick and roll. Black has good body control in the air to finish with either the right hand, or left. Usually finishes with the right hand flip lay-up, or a Euro step by a defender for an easy finish. Has shown he can hit the three off the dribble or catch and shoot. He will use a step back dribble by starting with left hand dribble then pull back for the triple. Good shot selection as I may have seen three bad shots in the four days I watched him at the Circuit Championships. Does not turn the ball over much though he handles it a lot for 3D Empire. Is equally good in the half court or in an up tempo setting. Moves well off the ball, does not stand around waiting for the ball to come to him.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_49qRRtPFs You see a lot of what I'm talking about offensively in this video.
WEAKNESSES: Free throw shooting. He's not terrible at it but will have to get better as he's very good at drawing fouls. He has a nice stroke I think it is more a lapse in concentration than anything else.
OFFENSE: Has to get better from three point range. Shot is not bad right now but as he moves onto the next level, teams will back off and dare him to shoot. He's so great at getting to the rim, the defense will have to concede something. Will have to improve his left hand finishing at the basket. He has shown he can go that way and finish, but does not drive left a lot, but will be forced to do so at the next level. Lacks strength has to get stronger which will come in a college weight room. I've heard NBA GM's say that they do not worry about lack of strength, they can put on muscle to just about any player. This though will help him finish even better than he already does on the high school level. Needs to be more vocal. He's a quiet leader but to be an elite point guard usually you have to not be afraid to get on your teammates when they make a boneheaded mistake.
DEFENSE: Not many weaknesses here, he might lose concentration off the ball at times but that's really nitpicking. Has to box out better and learn not just to use his athleticism to get defensive rebounds. Has to be a better defender in the low post, he lets his man get position without fighting him too much. He has to play better with a low center of gravity to keep his opponent off the block. Colleges still exploit mismatches in the paint area. This is not much of a worry in the NBA, as they don't do much post play. It is a good skill to have defensively. Has to learn to hit up on the ball when he tries to get a steal. Too many officials will assume it's a foul when you hit down on the ball. He got away with it at the Circuit Championships.
CONCLUSION: Will be an NBA player. Best two end player in the Class of 2022. He has all the tools to be an outstanding college player. Folks have come to the party late because he played for an independent team with no shoe affiliation. Grassroots basketball is anything if not political. Analysts don't want to admit when they are wrong, or missed the boat on a player. They did with Anthony Black for a long time. His weaknesses can easily be fixed, especially if he goes to the right college program. Some have said he has to get tougher, but I don't see it. He was a 4 star wide receiver and football is not an easy sport to play. Defensive backs tried every means necessary to stop him. They could not tackle him high so they went low for the knees to stop him. It was a wise decision to quit football, because he has an NBA future. Anthony Black has plenty of toughness along with ability on both ends of the court to be disruptive. He has a quiet intensity about him. Highly skilled player on both ends of the court. Whatever college gets him is getting a future superstar basketball player. Remember this is the first time he is concentrating on just basketball in his life. My title says can he be a top five pick in 2023 NBA Draft. I say yes, and will double down and say I feel he has a great chance to go #1.
BEST SCHOOL: Georgia or Duke have point guard openings at this point for Black. Gonzaga is a great option but will Hickman go pro after one year? Georgia has shown they can produce number one picks with Anthony Edwards. Oklahoma State where they had a big point guard in Cade Cunningham is a great option. He has a plethora of options, but it is important he goes where they are going to put the ball in his hands right away. He could go to Baylor where his parents went, but he would have to share the ball there. My opinion is either Gonzaga, Georgia, or Oklahoma State would be great fits for Black.