Arkansas guard Anthony Black is declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft after emerging as one of the nation's top freshmen during the 2022-23 season, he announced on ESPN Wednesday. Black earned SEC-All Freshman honors while helping guide the Razorbacks to the Sweet 16 as part of a loaded recruiting class that ranked No. 2 nationally.
At 6-foot-7, Richardson shined on both ends of the floor, leading Arkansas in assists and steals while ranking second in points per game at 12.8. Though his 30.1% 3-point shooting mark will need to improve at the next level, Black demonstrated excellent instincts and intangibles for a young player thrust into a key role for a high-level program.
Black made his talent apparent early with back-to-back 26-point games during the Maui Invitational in November against Louisville and Creighton. While his scoring ebbed and flowed over the season, his playmaking ability and defensive productivity helped sustain the Razorbacks during an up-and-down season.
He finished with multiple steals in 24 of 36 games and recorded multiple assists on 30 occasions while rating as Arkansas' most efficient all-around player, according to evanmiya.com. Black also demonstrated a knack for getting to the free-throw line, which was a big help for an Arkansas team that struggled offensively in half-court sets.
Anthony Black's NBA Draft projection
Black's excellent positional size makes him one of the most appealing point guard prospects in the draft class. At 6-foot-7, he can see over defenders and use his length to initiate the offense. He's also a dogged defender capable of defending multiple positions. Though Black's outside shot needs to improve, he proved to be efficient in attacking the basket and showed the body control necessary to hit floaters and score in transition.
"Black is only a reliable jumper away from being a lottery pick," Parrish wrote. "The 6-foot-7 guard is an interesting playmaker on the wing who has been the Razorbacks' best freshman in the absence of (Nick) Smith making any notable impact."
Impact on Arkansas
Entering the season, there may have been some hope that Arkansas would get more than one season from Black, who ranked as the No. 15 overall player in the Class of 2022, according to 247Sports. But it became obvious fairly early that he could be draft-ready this year. With fellow five-star guard Nick Smith also in line to be selected in the NBA Draft, Arkansas will again be seeking production from newcomers.
Quality reinforcements are on the way. The Razorbacks have transfer commitments from former Washington point guard Keyon Menifield, former Houston guard Tramon Mark and ex-Temple wing Khalif Battle. Incoming freshmen Layden Blocker and Baye Fall are also top-25 prospects who should help keep the Razorbacks near the top of the SEC.