I was a little surprised at all the e-mail I received after I posted an educated guess at what UNT’s rotation might look like next season in men’s basketball.
Just being honest here — I don’t think many people have much of an idea of who will start or play much next year. And that includes UNT’s coaches.
One can count the number of sure bets on the roster on one hand with room to spare.
This is what I came up with.
PG Chris Jones — 9.2 points a game, 74 assists
SG T.J. Taylor — Former Oklahoma signee who spent a short time at Marquette
SF Jordan Williams — 14.2 points, 3.7 rebounds a game, 46 3s
PF Armani Flannigan — Athletic 6-8 forward who averaged 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds a game at Central Wyoming State
C Kelvin Gaines — Former Cincinnati forward is 6-10 and has high-end athletic talent
Bench guys in order of playing time (the top six will play a lot)
SG Brandan Walton — Missed last season, 8.8 points a game in 2011-12 season, a good 3-point shooter
SG/PG Vertrail Vaughns — Averaged 5.0 last season at George Mason as a combo guard
SF Maurice Aniefiok — Former Ole Miss signee who sat out last season
SF/PF Greg Wesley — A 6-7 forward and one of the top players in the state and a steal for UNT
SG/PG Alzee Williams — 11.1 points, 3.4 rebounds a game last season
C/PF Colin Voss — A tank of a 6-7 forward who was a JUCO All-American last season at Northern Oklahoma.
C Keith Coleman — 1.3 points, 1.6 rebounds a game
PF Josh Friar — Freak 6-8 athlete who played sparingly in high school and could be a project type player
I was pretty comfortable with Chris Jones, T.J. Taylor and Jordan Williams.
From there it was all a guess.
This was my thinking.
UNT has three pretty good scorers in those three starting guards. When it comes to the other two spots, UNT needs a couple of guys who can rebound and defend. Gaines fits that mold and looks like a guy who can get up and down the floor.
Head coach Tony Benford is on record saying that UNT will get out and run the floor more this year. UNT ranked eighth out of 11 teams in the Sun Belt last year with an average of 66.2 points a game. To put that in perspective, Arkansas-Little Rock averaged 66.5 points a game under Steve Shields, about as defensive minded of a coach one is going to find.
Gaines seems like the closest thing to a five who can run as UNT has.
Sorting out Armani Flannigan, Colin Voss and Greg Wesley at the other forward is a pure guess. Flannigan just seems like another fit for an uptempo game. Wesley is just a freshman. Voss could just as easily end up starting.
The rotation order of Brandan Walton, Vertrail Vaughns, Maurice Aniefiok and Alzee Williams is just another educated guess. UNT needs shooting, and Walton can provide it. Vaughns could see time at the point to spell Jones. Aniefiok and Alzee Williams could fall anywhere in the rotation.
Alzee is a good defender and put up good numbers last year, but one has to wonder if he won’t slide a bit after Benford brought in a bunch of players with a similar skill set that will be “his guys.”
Bottom line — A few people e-mailed me and said it seemed like just a guess.
That’s exactly what it is.
I don’t think anyone has a really good handle on how it will all shake out at this point, especially since we haven’t seen so many of these guys play.