When Anthony Black smashed through the glass after his Orlando Magic teammate fired a last-second shot to defeat the New York Knicks in an NBA Summer League game, it was instinctive.
At 6-foot-7 and 200 pounds, Black is a standout point guard with a lot of potential, beginning his NBA career as Orlando’s sixth overall pick in the 2023 Draft. His length was a huge asset during his time at the University of Arkansas, who showed off rebounding and defense, two areas he says will translate to the NBA in his rookie season.
«I think we played against some pretty good players in Summer League, and I think I held my own in that regard,» Black told Fox News Digital while promoting his partnerships with TIDAL and Lockerverse.
«I’ve always been confident in my defense just with some of the tools I have. I feel like I have really good hands and I feel like I do a good job keeping the ball up front. I definitely think I can defend and rebound at this level on day one. Whatever happens».
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A great example was Black running to the rim when teammate Jett Howard hit a 28-foot 3-pointer to save a win late in a game. Black knew he wasn’t going to receive the ball at that point, but he made sure he was available in case the rebound went his way.
«I’ve done it a few times, too. A shot goes up and there’s still plenty of time. And the defense just turns and watches to see what happens,» Black said.
That’s exactly what happened. Black snuck up behind the Knicks and used his long arms to bunt in and force overtime.
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«It was just Summer League, but it’s still great to do a bucket like that,» Black said.
Black excelled in Las Vegas, leading the Magic in all Summer League categories, including points (11.0), rebounds (8.7), assists (4.0), steals (2.0) and minutes. played (28.4).
The Magic clearly view Black as a player who can make an immediate impact in Orlando, and the Texas native is ready to get to work with his teammates, many of whom texted him the night he was drafted. .
«It kind of shows how connected the whole organization is,» Black said of his new teammates. «But definitely playing guys like that, they’re all winning players. They all play very hard and are good players. I’m definitely glad to have come to this group.»
Black specifically singled out last year’s Rookie of the Year, Duke’s Paolo Banchero, who excelled in Orlando. However, the Magic want to improve from last season’s 13th place in the Eastern Conference with a 34-48 record.
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Expectations will be high for Black to live up to his sixth overall pick.
«There’s really not a lot of pressure on my end because of what we have,» Black said. «I know having good players around me will make it a little bit easier. I’m really trying to go in there and learn as much as I can and try to enjoy it and have fun because this is what everyone dreams of.» of.
«I try not to put too much pressure on myself and have fun. Just work hard.»
Strong defense and rebounding aren’t the only qualities Black wants to bring to the table this season.
«I’m trying to solidify myself as a solid two-way player in the league. I’m really interested in winning,» he said. «So, I’m hoping to go in there and win a few games. But at least develop myself, work on my craft, get a lot stronger and take a big step into the second year.»
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When game day arrives, Black uses music to cheer him up. And he does it with TIDAL, which allowed Black to take over his live feature that allowed others on the streaming platform to see exactly what he was listening to.
«I listen to music almost all day, from the moment I wake up, I run errands, I relax in the house. I go to the gym, of course, I work out,» he said. «I think it’s a great opportunity to share what you’re hearing and engage and interact with people.»