Brandan Walton is out for the year with a broken foot and will redshirt, a UNT spokesman confirmed this afternoon. I’m expecting an official statement to come out in the next hour or so.
The good news is that UNT has LOIs in from Greg Wesley and Josh Friar, two good prospects in the Benford’s first class.
But back to the news of the day.
Walton was injured while fighting over a screen in the Mean Green’s season-opening loss at Creighton and has not played since. He consulted with team doctors and his family and decided that it would be best if he would take the year off and then take another crack at his senior season next year.
It’s a huge blow for UNT in a season that has been full of them so far. UNT found out before the season started that Marquette transfer T.J. Taylor would not be granted a waiver by the NCAA that would make him eligible this season.
UNT then lost a couple of games early in the year, including one to Alabama-Huntsville that really set this team back in terms of reaching its goals.
Losing Walton is going to make recovering from a tough start to the season even tougher.
Walton was the one reliable 3-point shooter UNT had on the roster. He shot 36.7 percent from 3-point range last season and made a team-high 54 shots from behind the arc. No other UNT player had more than 23.
Tony Mitchell is a good shooter from 3-point range, but needless to say, that is not the role he needs to fill.
Jordan Williams, Alzee Williams, Chris Jones, Jacob Holmen and P.J. Hardwick can all shoot the 3, but are not the players UNT wanted to depend on to be players who could consistently stretch a defense.
UNT wants to get the ball inside — that’s Benford’s philosophy — but that is going to be tougher to do without a player like Walton to provide a threat from the outside.
Clarke Overlander could develop into a long-range threat, but doesn’t seem ready after making the jump from Class 3A Argyle.
The good news is that two of the foundation players for the future have signed with UNT. Wesley is arguably the best player in the class, a forward with size and a good offensive game. Friar is another good prospect, one who fits in well with Benford’s emphasis on having size and the ability to score inside.
Check back for more later.