The big day is here (Mitchell, UNT on the clock)

Former North Texas standout Tony Mitchell is expected to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft tonight. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

We are just hours away from a milestone in UNT history.

The NBA draft is tonight, and just about everyone on the planet has Tony Mitchell projected to be selected in the first round.

UNT hasn’t had a player taken in the NBA draft since 1984 and hasn’t had a player selected in the first round ever.

The last time UNT had a player selected in the NFL draft was back in 2004, when Cody Spencer — a staple of the Glory Days bowl teams — was taken in the sixth round by the Raiders. Spencer got tired of waiting to hear his name called and went fishing to relax.

Bottom line — This is a big, big day for UNT.

It’s also one that has some UNT fans feeling mixed emotions.

I received an e-mail from one UNT fan who said Mean Green fans should be livid if Mitchell goes in the first round, considering what transpired last season. UNT went 12-20 after posting six straight seasons with at least 18 wins.

Mitchell admitted to coasting and having a hard time getting up for games while playing for a team that suffered through a series of injuries and imploded.

It’s understandable that people feel that way, but Mitchell brought UNT a ton of publicity. Head coach Tony Benford said it will be great for the program to have North Texas mentioned every time Mitchell is brought up tonight and down the line.

There is a lot to be said for that.

Mitchell didn’t have the perfect career at UNT, and certainly not the longest one.

But there is no denying his impact on UNT athletics.

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