Playing his first season of Big V, Black has become an overwhelming MVP favourite in Division Two Men, averaging 35.8 points per game, an astounding 10.6 points more than the next highest scorer.
The dynamic guard is also third in the league for three-pointers made, second in assists per game and, despite his 185-centimetre stature, second in rebounding with 10.7 per contest.
His contributions on the court for Wallan are just the beginning for Black and his mission surrounding basketball.
July marked the launch of Black’s new venture, the All Instinct Basketball Academy. The training academy sets the goal to not only grow basketball in the Mitchell-Shire area, but develop players to reach high levels and unlock their full potential.
Black told The North Central Review the motivation for his Wallan based project resulted from the warm embrace the town offered after arriving in March 2020.
“The Wallan community have been so welcoming to me for the past couple of years. They took care of me during COVID,” Black said.
“Once I experienced the way of life Australians live here, I fell in love and now I don’t want to go back.
“Wallan is a growing community. I think we’re the only club in Mitchell Shire that’s in the Big V competition, so it’s a good area to [set up an academy].”
Black also coaches the Panthers’ Under-18 representative team. He said his personal childhood experiences have provided him with this passion to foster basketball talents.
“I love helping the kids not only with basketball but with life,” he said.
“It’s a really big thing for me because when I was growing up, I didn’t have much guidance in basketball. It’s good for these kids to have access in their own communities.
“I thought it was a good time to start a basketball academy for kids who wanted to take their game to the next level. Whether that’s playing domestic or rep or going to college overseas, I just wanted to create something to help kids achieve what they want to in basketball.”
Wallan Basketball president Gary O’Brien told The North Central Review Black’s idea perfectly fits Wallan Basketball’s vision for the future.
“We’ve always put a focus on our differentiation as a club being a family environment,” O’Brien said.
“It’s not that we’re not competitive, but we favour the enjoyment of the sport over everyone being adversarial and ultra-competitive.
“We’ve really held onto that the more we’ve grown. We get a lot of compliments from people from other clubs that they really notice the difference.
“For us, that also extends out to our imports.
“We haven’t brought him here for a year in the hope that he’ll win us a championship, we’ve brought him here to become part of our program and we hope that he stays with us long-term and that we provide something that is attractive for him to be around so that he can build a life here.”
With a new training academy, possible MVP and All-Star 5 award, not to mention a championship all in his sights, it doesn’t appear even a pandemic will stop Sharif Black from making his name heard in the Big V and Victorian Basketball community.