CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — Leron Black is spending his summer giving back. The former Illini is working out at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago, not with a professional trainer, but with the high school team. Black’s been in the gym with kids from the community every day, giving back while working on his game, two things he learned in college.
“I found my passion for working with kids while I was at Illinois,” says Black. “I found out how to work hard, what it meant to work hard at the highest level.”
Adam Hoover coaches the varsity team at Clemente and says Black’s presence has been invaluable this summer.
“He comes in here with a positive energy and he’s teaching people to play other people before themselves,” says Hoover. “So he’s just given us unselfishness, energy, positivity we haven’t had.”
Black spent last year playing in Argentina, where he averaged 16 points and seven rebounds a game. It led to several opportunities for the 6-foot-7 forward, including chances to play in Europe but Black decided to sign with Flamengo in Rio De Janierio, the defending champs of the NBB, the premier professional league in Brazil.
“It’s a good team and great exposure so I just felt like it was the best move for me,” says Black.
Black is working primarily on his outside shot to take his game to the next level. He says he only posted up a handful of times all of last season. It’s a big change from his time as an Illini but the Memphis native still sports the orange and blue everywhere he goes. After an up and down college career that included highs and lows both on and off the court, Black says he’s thankful for it all.
“When I got there I was an 18-year old child, played all the time, got into all sorts of stuff but everything that I went thru at Illinois helped me become a man,” says Black.
And it’s those experiences that are helping him navigate life as a pro overseas.