Black attended Ridgeway High School in Memphis, Tennessee. As a junior in 2008–09, he averaged 15.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game as he helped lead the Roadrunners to a 26-6 record and a District 15-AAA title. As a senior in 2009–10, he averaged 16.3 points and 12.6 rebounds as he helped lead the Roadrunners to a 26-3 record and a second District 15-AAA title.
In his freshman season at Memphis, Black played in all 35 games and made 24 starts, including 18 of the final 19 contests, while averaging 9.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He was subsequently named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team.
In his sophomore season, he played in all 35 games and made 31 starts, while averaging 10.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. He also set the Memphis single-season field goal percentage record at 68.9 percent and was named to the All-Conference USA second team, All-Defensive team and All-Tournament team.
In his junior season, he played in 32 games and made five starts, while averaging 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game. He was named to the Tiger Academic 30 for the 2013 spring semester for having the highest grade-point average on the team.
On May 20, 2013, Black transferred to the University of Kansas after graduating from Memphis with a degree in organizational leadership, and was deemed eligible to play immediately. In his lone season for the Jayhawks, he was named the Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year and went on to average 15.0 points per game in the NCAA Tournament. His season-high 19 points on 9-of-9 shooting on Senior Night was the best efficiency by a Jayhawk since 1990. In 33 games (15 starts), he averaged 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game.
After going undrafted in the 2014 NBA draft, Black joined the Houston Rockets for the 2014 NBA Summer League. On August 27, 2014, he signed with the Rockets. On December 26, 2014, he was waived by the Rockets after appearing in 25 games.
On December 28, 2014, Black was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Lakers. On January 3, 2015, he was assigned to the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League. He was recalled the next day. On April 10, 2015, he recorded a season-best game with 18 points and 10 rebounds in a 106-98 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
During the 2015–16 season, Black received multiple assignments to the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
On August 24, 2016, Black re-signed with the Lakers. On July 1, 2017, he was waived by the Lakers.
On July 17, 2017, Black signed with the Houston Rockets, returning to the franchise for a second stint.
Black is the son of Lawrence and Judith Black, and has two brothers, Bilal and Amal.
Black earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Memphis and his master's degree from the University of Kansas.