The UNT men’s basketball team filled one of its top needs heading into the late signing period on Thursday, when the Mean Green picked up a commitment from Todd Eaglin.
Eaglin, a 5-foot-11 point guard, just finished his sophomore season at Tyler Junior College. He said UNT head coach Tony Benford and assistant Scott Monarch have been recruiting him for about the last month.
“Coach was telling me that they needed a true point guard to come in and run a system,” Eaglin said. “I am a passer. They have a lot of wings who can score the ball. It will be a good fit.”
Eaglin averaged 15.2 points and 7.6 assists a game last season and was named to the first-team All-North Zone Team in Region XIV. He was also named second-team all-region.
UNT was the only school that had offered Eaglin a scholarship, but Middle Tennessee, New Mexico and New Mexico State had shown interest. The late signing period begins April 16.
“He’s a great kid and has a really good personality — a winning personality,” Tyler JC coach Mike Marquis said. “He has a great attitude on the floor and shoots it well.”
Eaglin has yet to visit UNT, but said the academic opportunities the school provides are important to him, as is the opportunity to continue his career.
“I am going there for basketball, but it is also a good spot for me to get my degree,” Eaglin said. “Basketball is not always going to be there. I am headed toward business or accounting.”
Eaglin also named the relationship he developed over the last few weeks with Benford and Monarch as one of the reasons he felt comfortable with the idea of playing for UNT.
Committing to UNT will also give Eaglin the opportunity to reunite with DeAndre Harris, who signed with the Mean Green during the early signing period. The two played together as freshmen at Tyler JC before Harris sat out last season due to medical issues.
“DeAndre is a good friend,” Eaglin said. “We played one year together as freshmen. He’s a really good player.”
UNT pushed the ball in the open floor at every opportunity last season and will now have a second point guard in Eaglin who can play in that type of system.
“He is fast with the ball and we run a system that lends itself to assists,” Marquis said of Tyler’s offense that depends largely on having a point guard who can make quick decisions and passes that put teammates in position to score.
Eaglin played at Woodland Christian and was a two-sports star in high school. He played at College Park before transferring to Woodland Christian, where he excelled.
The addition of Eaglin would address one of UNT’s biggest needs in the off-season after the departure of combo guard Alzee Williams.
Jones handled the point guard duties for most of the year for UNT and finished with 127 assists. Williams handled the ball when Jones was out of the game and was also the Mean Green’s second leading scorer at 11.1 points a game.
Eaglin would give UNT a second ball handler to replace Williams and could also bolster UNT’s outside shooting. Eaglin shot 39.8 percent from 3-point range this season.
Eaglin joins a class that includes Dallas Carter forward Jeremy Combs and San Jacinto College guard Carrington Ward in addition to Harris.
Arlington Seguin forward Greg Wesley is also expected to be eligible in the 2014-15 season after sitting out last season while working to become eligible.
UNT finished 16-16 in its second season under Benford, which was also its first in Conference USA. UNT fell to Tulane in the second round of the C-USA tournament in El Paso.