Panthers welcome import

Wallan Panthers import Sharif Black elected to stay in Wallan instead of heading home to the USA when the pandemic hit last year.

By Jackson Russell

The Wallan Panthers have brought in USA basketballer Sharif Black to fill its one import spot on its men’s roster for the 2020 Big V season.

The six foot two inches point guard replaces Trace Cureton, who left for Puerto Rico after averaging 20.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists last season.

Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Black averaged 16.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 28 appearances in his senior year for Division II school Bemidji State in northern Minnesota before spending a couple of months playing for Electrico FC in Portugal.

Black said he was drawn to the Panthers after playing with Leigh Saffin for two years at Chadron State.

“I always wanted to visit, Leigh always told me to visit. I watched the NBL when I was back home, I watched a lot of overseas games and it looked really fun to play in that sort of environment,” he said.

“The community’s been awesome to me so far and I’m really excited to start playing.”

Black said with his American football background, he plays bigger than his size and isn’t afraid to get physical.

“I’m hoping to bring some toughness to the team. I’m a scrappy player, I try to play a lot bigger than my size and probably do a bit too much banging with the big boys,” he said.

With exceptional quickness, Black’s been given the keys to Wallan’s offence and will look to push the pace.

“[Coach Tim Annett and I] discussed everything he wanted me to do beforehand and definitely running the offence, running the team, pushing tempo and controlling tempo as a point guard are the things he wants me to do and the expectations he set for me before I came,” Black said.

“We’ve just got to push the pace in order to score more than the other team because it’s going to be hard for us to get rebounds.”