What does history tell us about impact front court newcomers?

UNT is facing the rather daunting prospect of having to replace arguably the most talented player in program history in Tony Mitchell and one of its best all-around forwards of the last couple of years in Roger Franklin.

Keith Coleman was a bit player last year and is only forward/center coming back.

That got me thinking: What is UNT’s history in terms of bringing in newcomers at the forward spots and how have they contributed in their first seasons with the Mean Green. I didn’t count transfers who sat at UNT for a year before becoming eligible. UNT didn’t have anyone sit out last year in terms of post players.

Here is what I came up with:

Junior College transfers (first-year at UNT stats)
Eric Tramiel — 12.0 points, 6.6 rebounds a gamne
Michael DeGrate — 8.7 points, 4.8 rebounds a game
Jeffrey Simpson — 7.7 points, 4.1 rebounds a game
Niko Stojiljkovic — 3.2 points, 2.6 rebounds a game
Alonzo Edwards — 2.3 points, 1.9 rebounds a game
Keith Coleman — 1.3 points, 1.6 rebounds a game
Jonathan Jackson — 0.8 points, 1.3 rebounds a game

Freshmen
Jacob Holmen — 4.8 points, 2.4 rebounds a game
Harold Stewart — 4.6 points, 3.6 rebounds a game
Quincy Williams — 4.4 points, 3.6 rebounds a game
Kedrick Hogans — 2.5 points, 3.0 rebouds a game
Justin Howerton — 2.5 points, 1.9 rebounds a game
Forrest Robinson — 1.6 points, 1.2 rebounds a game
Ben Knox — Redshirt

So what does history tell us? It tells us what we already knew. UNT is facing a big challenge when it comes to filling the void left by a couple of guys in Mitchell (13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds a game) and Franklin (11.7 points, 6.3 rebounds a game).

Mitchell was at UNT for nearly a year even though he couldn’t practice or play before putting up huge numbers in the second semester of his freshman year. We’ll take him out of the debate.

Eric Tramiel was a JUCO All-American and a steal for UNT. He posted huge numbers his freshman season. Michael DeGrate started out at Baylor and was a first-team all NTJCAC selection before arriving at UNT and making a pretty big impact. Jeffrey Simpson was not bad either, and he was a big presence on the defensive end.

Both of UNT’s early JUCO signees dropped out of school. Tony Benford said UNT is looking for late signees. One would hope that there is another Tramiel out there, but the odds are not in UNT’s favor.

UNT’s chances of having a high school big man come in and make a big impact also seem to be a long shot. Quincy Williams is one of the better big men in recent UNT history and averaged less than five points and three rebounds a game as a freshman. Jacob Holmen and Harold Stewart were also pretty vital players at UNT who didn’t post huge numbers as freshmen.

UNT will need more out of Greg Wesley, Josh Friar and Tony Nunn.

I did a little digging today to see how they did as seniors.

Wesley, who was a huge get for UNT, averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds a game. Mitchell mentioned Wesley specifically when he spoke about UNT’s future on the day he announced he is declaring for the NBA draft.

I put in calls to see how Nunn and Friar did.

I talked to Friar’s head coach Royce Huseman down at Humble Kingwood. UNT knew from the start that Friar would be a project. He didn’t play his junior season after transferring. Huseman didn’t have Friar’s exact stats handy, but he said he averaged about four points and three rebounds a game. Friar didn’t start for Kingwood. Huseman said he has a big upside, but has yet to reach his potential.

I have yet to hear back from the head coach at Oldsmar, where Nunn played his senior year.

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