Even with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on recruiting and the evaluation of the state's top basketball prospects of the 2021 rising senior class, many of the state's top prospects are still getting it done, as several prospects in the class have now given commitments to college programs. Last last week, Ironwood High School's talented 6-foot-4 rising senior guard Bailon Black became the next in line - giving a big verbal commitment to a member of the Big Sky Conference.
Northern Colorado just hired new Head Coach Steve Smiley to replace previous successful Head Coach Jeff Lindner, who took over the University of Wyoming basketball program. Smiley and his staff immediately took notice of Black and exploits on the basketball court - extending an offer to the gifted guard prospect. Black announced his commitment to their program last week.
Black is coming off an excellent junior season, where he helped lead his Ironwood program to the school's first ever 5A State Championship, defeating a very talented Millennium HS team in the state final, 78-70. Amidst a very tough 5A Conference last season, Ironwood finished with a very impressive 28-2 overall record on the season, and Head Coach Jordan Augustine, one of the elite coaches in the state, was selected as our Arizona Preps' 2020 Game Changer of the Year, as he has built quite the program at Ironwood, while also building the program's winning culture.
During his junior season, Black averaged 12.8 points, 4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals per/game, on a loaded team of players that included numerous college prospects. Black's best performance though came in the 5A's State Final where he went off - scoring 17 points and helping Ironwood to a nice 42-33 halftime lead, which helped the program eventually win it all.
Black is a lengthy and rangy guard prospect with loads of upside and potential for the future. He is a very skilled prospect with a pure shooting stroke with range, and an ability to create and finish off the dribble. He has a nice ability to create for himself and others off the dribble, and is a very good slasher and finisher in the lane, despite his lack of true physical size. He is a very good ball handler and passer, that pushes the basketball up the floor and finds the open man.
Black is also an excellent defender that plays passing lanes consistently, and applies excellent pressure on the ball handler, as a lock-down on-the-ball defender, as a result of his length, quick hands and feet and ability to deflect and steal passes of the ball. A young prospect with a bright future ahead of him, and, if there is a season this year, will have a big, breakout season for himself.
"Bailon is a terrific young man," said Jordan Augustine. "He is a pleasure to coach, and has grown a lot over the past couple of years as a player, and as a person. His grandma, Freda, is a special lady who has done nothing short of an incredible job of raising him. Coach Sal has done a remarkable job in aiding Bailon with his growth and placement. I couldn't be happier for him to have found such a great fit and opportunity. I'm blessed that I got to be apart of his journey."