Friday afternoon notes (UNT men’s hoops video, recruiting notes, et cetera)

I stopped by UNT basketball practice today to pick up some material for the paper and the blog.

The video at the top is one I shot with UNT men’s head coach Tony Benford and senior guard Alzee Williams. UNT’s win 61-41 over Texas A&M on New Year’s Eve kind of got lost in the euphoria of the Mean Green’s win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

That’s understandable.

UNT’s 36-14 win was huge for the university and is arguably the Mean Green’s biggest victory in any sport since the 2002 New Orleans Bowl. Texas is a football state after all.

What we shouldn’t do is overlook what UNT accomplished in College Station. UNT has been beaten up a bit during a tough stretch since the beginning of last year. This could be the sign that things are turning around. UNT hadn’t won at A&M since 1966.

UNT is healthy for the first time since Benford arrived before last season. That has made a big difference.

UNT will look to build on its momentum tomorrow against UC Riverside.

Keith Coleman will be back for that game after missing the Mean Green’s win over A&M due to a violation of team rules.

The UNT women will also be in action against Cameron in their first game after failing to complete a comeback against Missouri State. Acheil Tac is out with a knee contusion, while Alexis Hyder was hit in the head in practice and is questionable.

Those are two really important pieces for UNT.

And on the recruiting front …

UNT recruiting target Xavier Washington, a defensive end out of Cedar Hill, is headed to California to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Carson, Calif.

“I’m out here coaching in the bowl, and we had a couple kids get banged up and they had him kind of on their list,” Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire told The Dallas Morning News. “They needed a defensive end, and he was all fired up and he’s actually probably on the plane right now.”

That is not the best turn of events for UNT. Washington will get a lot of exposure at that game. He already has offers from a host of schools across the country and could garner attention from major conferences (Big 12, SEC) with a good performance there.

Washington could still end up at UNT, which is about done with its 2014 class. He would be a great get. The competition could soon be get tougher to land him.

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