Wednesday afternoon basketball notes (Overlander update)

Caught a bit of breaking news here in the last few minutes. Clarke Overlander has a sprained ACL and will be out two to four weeks. That’s great news for UNT, which thought Overlander might be out for the year.

UNT can’t afford to lose any more players.

And in other news, a few people have asked me if I have asked Tony Benford about any underlying problems UNT is experiencing in the wake of a tough season and a series of suspensions. Keith Coleman was suspended for a game against Troy, while Alzee Williams sat out UNT’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe.

Yes, I have asked. Here is what Benford had to say:

“Guys are making bad decisions. That’s all it is. That has happened everywhere I have ever been. It happened at Marquette and Nebraska. I told the guys we have team rules, you have to follow them. We are going to play to win every game. No one is going to give up. No one is going to quit. We are going to keep working hard and keep playing hard. I think the thing is still wide open. We want to get back into the race. That is our goal. It’s a long season with a lot of games left to be played.”

I think Benford has a point here.

People have talked about what a great situation Benford inherited at UNT, and they are right. But there is another side to it. There is a saying in coaching that you don’t want to take over for “The Man.” You want to take over for the man who took over for “The Man”

Johnny Jones had his critics and made his share of mistakes over the years — everyone does. But the fact remains he went to two NCAA tournaments, won 20 games in five straight seasons and was within a possession of going to two more. He won 18 games in his final season with the Mean Green.

At UNT, that roughly equates to walking on water.

He was also a players’ coach and pretty much beloved around town.

It’s not easy to take over for a guy like that, especially when nothing is going right. And nothing is going right for UNT this year.

Benford is sticking to his guns. That’s what he should do. If UNT starts winning, everything will turn around.

On the women’s front, UNT plays a huge game at UALR tonight. UNT is a half game behind the Trojans in the Sun Belt West Division standings.

Mike Petersen has a young team playing really well lately.

Here is the story I wrote about how UNT has fared early in the season with a young team.