Lakers' Tarik Black just happy to be here

Lakers' Tarik Black just happy to be here
Lakers forward Tarik Black, right, tries to drive past Clippers forward Blake Griffin during a loss at Staples Center on April 5. (Michael Nelson / EPA)

Tarik Black was thoroughly enjoying his rookie season.

He was hanging around with Dwight Howard in Houston. Got a handful of starts when Howard got hurt. Even had 11 points and nine rebounds against the Clippers, not bad for a guy who went undrafted.

But then Houston waived him to make room for the unexpected signing of Josh Smith. Black was crushed.

The Lakers came calling, picking him up via waivers. It was a good fit for Black.

"A hundred percent," Black said Thursday. "I feel I like I've found a home here."

After averaging 7.4 points and 6.3 rebounds a game, he's one of the few Lakers players expected to return next year. Earlier this week, he had 19 rebounds against Dallas, the most by a Lakers rookie since Leroy Ellis in 1963.

His end-of-season meeting Thursday with Lakers General Mitch Kupchak and Coach Byron Scott went well, Black said.

"They definitely praised me for the potential that I have. That's a big thing with them," Black said.

He'll probably play on the Lakers' summer-league team in July, but also plans to go back to the University Kansas soon to continue work on his master's degree in African American studies.

He concluded an interview with reporters Thursday the way he always has.

"Thank you for the opportunity," he said, and he was out the door.