#32 North Texas Mean Green: College Basketball 111 in 111


tony benford north texas

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

I’m telling you right now, you don’t want to see North Texas in your bracket come NCAA Tournament.  Former Marquette assistant Tony Benford takes over a very talented roster led by future NBA Draft lottery pick Tony Mitchell as the Mean Green play their final year in the Sun Belt before heading to Conference USA.

NORTH TEXAS MEAN GREEN
Last Season: 5th, 9-7 in Sun Belt, 18-14 overall
Predicted Sun Belt Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Jacob Holmen (Sr)/Keith Coleman (So)/Niko Stojiljkovic (Sr)
F: Tony Mitchell (So)/Justin Patton (Sr)
G/F: Brandan Walton (Sr)/Jordan Williams (So)/Roger Franklin (Sr)/Clarke Overlander (Fr)
SG: Alzee Williams (Jr)/
PG: Chris Jones (So)/P.J. Hardwick (Fr)

Gone: F/C-Kedrick Hogans, G-Tyler Hall, PF-Alonzo Edwards, F/C-Forrest Robinson (transfer-South Plains CC), PG-Trey Norris (transfer-South Dakota)

2012-2013 Outlook:
The former Missouri commit Mitchell made a huge splash in his first year UNT averaging a double-double per night.  Plain and simple, he is a major level player competing against mid-major competition and should be even more dominating this season.

Besides Mitchell, the Mean Green return all seven players from last year who averaged at least seven points a game.  Chris Jones and Jordan Williams finished second and third respectively on the team in scoring but were ruled academically ineligible for the final 13 games of the year.  Their absence allowed shooting guard Alzee Williams to become a more prominent threat and he made the most of his opportunities.  Having all three of them on the court provides North Texas with a dynamic trio of scorers.

There is terrific depth in the backcourt as well led by Brandan Walton who was the team’s top three-point shooter and physical wing Roger Franklin.  Both guys saw a lot of time in the starting line-up last year and might force Benford’s hand to use a frequent four-guard look with Mitchell in the middle.

Add in point guard P.J. Hardwick, initially a Mississippi State commit until Rick Stansbury left the program, and there is quality reserve in the backcourt who could easily start for most mid-major programs.  JUCO transfer T.J. Taylor who originally committed to Marquette when Benford was an assistant there, decided to follow the new head man to UNT but must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules.

Assuming Benford uses a more prototypical starting unit, expect Jacob Holmen or Justin Patton to start alongside Mitchell in the frontcourt.  Holmen was a valuable role player a year ago due to the solid range on his jumper while Patton is a Grambling State transfer who was Second-Team All-SWAC after leading the team in scoring and rebounding as a junior.  Patton is battling a knee injury though that might sideline him for the first few weeks of the season.  JUCO transfer Justin Coleman offers some true center size at 6-10, 245 pounds and joins the Mean Green after de-committing from Nebraska following their coaching change this off-season.

If I could buy stock in North Texas making some serious noise on the national scene and eventually becoming a Top 25 team, I’d do it in a heartbeat.  Benford walked into a terrific situation having balanced scoring, experience, depth, size, and speed.  I’m obviously really high on the Mean Green and really think they are a legit Sweet 16 contender if their current roster stays in place as it looks now.

Player to Watch: Tony Mitchell
Mitchell has appeared on several preseason All-American lists and for good reason.  He could have easily left for the NBA Draft and been a lottery pick last summer but decided to return to UNT.  Two keys for Mitchell to take the next step with his game; becoming a more confident/consistent outside shooter and improving his ability to break down defenders off the bounce in iso situations.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/9 at Creighton
11/13 vs. Kansas State/Lamar (at K-State/NIT Presason Tip-Off)
11/19-23 vs. TBD (NIT Preseason Tip-Off)
12/5 at St. Louis

OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#33 Ohio Bobcats
#34 Texas Longhorns
#35 Miami Hurricanes
#36 Purdue Boilermakers
#37 Alabama Crimson Tide
#38 St. Joseph’s Hawks
#39 Murray State Racers
#40 VCU Rams
#41 Davidson Wildcats
#42 Stanford Cardinal
#43 UMass Minutemen
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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