Mitchell finalizes staff with Bobby Brasel

Brasel

Brasel

New UNT women’s basketball coach Jalie Mitchell finished out her staff on Friday with the announcement that Bobby Brasel will be the Mean Green’s associate head coach.

Brasel was a member of Joe Foley’s staff at Arkansas-Little Rock for the last two years. He was on the staff at South Alabama before heading to UALR, where he worked for Joe Foley.

“There aren’t many places I would have left Joe Foley and the strong tradition of UALR for, but the opportunity to come here, work with Jalie and help bring her vision of the Mean Green program into reality was just too enticing to pass up.” Brasel said in a prepared statement. “Hearing her passion and seeing the potential that exists at North Texas made me want to be here on the ground floor. We plan to build something special in the metroplex, throughout the state of Texas and on a national level as well.”

Brasel was the head coach at Garden City College in Kansas before making his two stops as an assistant at UALR and USA, two teams UNT played regularly in the Sun Belt. The Mean Green were members of the Sun Belt during the late stages of Mitchell’s days as a player at UNT and during her tenure as an assistant coach with the Mean Green.

“I’m so fortunate to have Bobby on staff as associate head coach. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table,” Mitchell said. “I’ve watched Bobby on the opposite bench for many years and always had the utmost respect for him. He’s a diligent worker who loves the game of basketball and enjoys teaching it. His voice is exactly what was needed to finalize this coaching staff. Bobby is great with X’s and O’s and is a relentless recruiter. He’s as sharp as they come and I value his input very much. I look forward to the major impact he will have on this program.”

The addition of Brasel completes UNT’s staff that also includes recruiting coordinator and assistant coach Tron Griffin and assistant coach Kasondra Foreman, a former UNT player.

Who’s on first? A current rundown of UNT’s basketball roster

North Texas coach Tony Benford has made several moves to adjust the Mean Green's roster over the last few weeks. UNT is hoping those changes will help the Mean Green post their first winning season in his tenure in the 2015-16 season, his fourth with the program. UNT finished 14-17 last year.

North Texas coach Tony Benford has made several moves to adjust the Mean Green’s roster over the last few weeks. UNT is hoping those changes will help the Mean Green post their first winning season in Benford’s tenure in the 2015-16 campaign, his fourth with the program. UNT finished 14-17 last year.

UNT is in the midst of an offseason makeover of its basketball roster.

The process is one that every team goes through, and every team handles it differently. These days there is a whole lot more turnover in the college game.

Bottom line — It’s not just UNT.

The Indianapolis Star ran a pretty good story on it a while back.

With that being said, UNT has undergone a pretty dramatic makeover that might not be done yet. To review …

– UNT mutually agreed to part ways with talented, but often injured guard T.J. Taylor in the last few days. He was likely on his way out anyway as a graduating senior, but he did consider trying to get the NCAA to grant him an extra year of eligibility.

– Third-team All-Conference USA selection Jordan Williams, UNT’s starting small forward and the ninth-leading scorer in school history, graduated. UNT will miss him terribly. Don’t believe me? Think back on what Alzee Williams provided as a senior two years ago and how he would have helped last season when UNT desperately needed another ball-handler.

– UNT also lost senior forwards Colin Voss and Armani Flannigan. Voss put up solid all-around numbers while averaging 8.8 points, 5.8 rebounds a game to go along with 58 assists. Flannigan added 4.4 points and 2.7 rebounds a game.

– UNT signed Rickey Brice, a 7-0 center of Arlington Pantego Christian and point guard JaMichael Brown of Pro-Vision Academy in the fall signing period.

– UNT has also picked up Deckie Johnson, a shooting guard out of Angelina College, and Allante Holston a small forward out of Orlando West Oaks Academy, in the late period that is still going on. Those are four pretty good additions.

– The Mean Green also picked up a walk-on forward in Trevor Thompson.

That leaves UNT with a roster that looks like this heading into next season:

C – Rickey Brice, Fr.

PF – Muhammed Ahmed, Sr.; Jeremy Combs, So.

SF – Allante Holston, Jr.

SG – Carrington Ward, Jr.; DeAndre Harris, Jr., Maurice Aniefiok, Sr.; Deckie Johnson, Jr.

PG – J-Mychal Reese, Jr.; Todd Eaglin, Sr.; Greg White-Pittman, So.; JaMichael Brown, Fr.

That is 12 guys. Remember, Thompson is a walk-on and isn’t in the discussion in this particular exercise.

UNT is a little thin in terms of front court players. Brice will be a good player, but was at Arlington Pantego Christian last year and didn’t play the best competition. Even if he comes in and sets the world on fire, he’s going to need help.

UNT is in the market for two late additions inside. The Mean Green struck out on New Mexico JC center Ray Barreno who committed to Portland.

The NCAA scholarship limit is 13.

The late signing period lasts until May 20 and teams can still get players in after that point. That was the case with Kedrick Hogans, who was a late addition several years ago now.

Can UNT find two guys worth taking at at this point? Could UNT add just one more post player and be done with it? What happens if UNT does find two more post players?

Those are questions that will be answered in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned.

UNT women pick up commit from New Mexico JC guard

Former Dallas Lincoln standout Kesley Criner, who played last season at New Mexico Junior College, has committed to UNT. (File photo/The Dallas Morning News)

Former Dallas Lincoln standout Kesley Criner, who played last season at New Mexico Junior College, has committed to UNT. (File photo/The Dallas Morning News)

Kelsey Criner, who played at New Mexico Junior College last season after her high school career at Dallas Lincoln, has committed to UNT.

Criner averaged 12.2 points a game for the Thunderbirds last season, when she shot 48.8 percent from the field. She was ranked among the top guards in the country during her senior season by ESPN’s HoopGurls.

Criner was an All-District 12-4A selection as a senior.

The 5-7 guard is the second player to commit to UNT since former Texas assistant and UNT Hall of Fame member Jalie Mitchell took over as the Mean Green’s head coach this offseason. UNT previously picked Texas transfer Nekia Jones, a 5-11 forward who will sit out the upcoming season.

UNT makes it official, announces Foreman as member of Mitchell’s staff

Foreman

Foreman

UNT made what has long seemed like a foregone conclusion official on Thursday night. Kasondra Foreman is returning to her alma mater to join Jalie Mitchell’s first staff with the Mean Green women’s basketball team.

Foreman was recruited by Mitchell and played for the Mean Green from 2010-12, when she made 31 starts.

“Kasondra is family to me and I’m excited to bring her home as an assistant coach,” Mitchell said in  a prepared statement. “Being an alum, she possesses the same passion for North Texas and the same pride in this program that I do. Her ability to relate to players and sustain relationships will play a vital role in our recruiting efforts.”

Foreman spent the last two seasons as an assistant at Northwestern State. She will help coach UNT’s guards.

“North Texas is an institution that has always stood out to me,” Foreman said. “The positive energy and atmosphere here is easy to fall in love with. It’s the reason I committed here as a player and even more so why I’ve returned as a coach.”

Mitchell previously announced that she has hired Tron Griffin, who was an assistant at Prairie View A&M, as her recruiting coordinator and assistant coach. Griffin will work with UNT’s post players.

Breaking: T.J. Taylor elects to not return to UNT

North Texas guard T.J.  Taylor was considering returning next season if the NCAA granted him an extra year of eligibility.  A school spokesman said Thursday night that he will not return.

North Texas guard T.J. Taylor was considering returning next season if the NCAA granted him an extra year of eligibility. A school spokesman said Thursday night that he will not return.

North Texas guard T.J. Taylor has elected to abandon his appeal to the NCAA for an additional season of eligibility and will pursue a pro career, coach Tony Benford confirmed Thursday night.

Taylor averaged 8.4 points and 3.3 rebounds a game last season. He played two seasons at UNT and also spent a year with the Mean Green as a redshirt.

The former Denison standout battled injuries throughout his college career that included stops at Oklahoma, Paris JC and a brief stay at Marquette before he landed at UNT. Taylor underwent knee and shoulder surgery at UNT and also suffered a concussion at Oklahoma.

Taylor missed four games last season.

UNT officials and Taylor hoped late last season that his injury history would lead the NCAA to grant him an additional year of eligibility.

Taylor began his career at Oklahoma, but left the school after suffering a concussion during preseason practice. He landed at Paris JC, where he excelled and earned third-team All-American honors.

Taylor then committed to Marquette and spent eight weeks at the school before leaving and landing at UNT.

Taylor sat out the 2012-13 season as a transfer and had shoulder surgery. The 6-3 guard’s health problems continued last fall when he had knee surgery that slowed him early in the year.

“T.J. is a great kid who never reached his potential because of injuries,” Benford said. “He showed flashes last year. We won five in a row when he was healthy.”

Taylor was a consensus top 100 player during his senior season at Denison in 2010. He scored a school record 2,630 points for the Yellow Jackets.

Taylor never found the right fit on the college level to build on his success at Denison. UNT was forced to move Taylor from his natural shooting guard spot to point guard last season after Texas A&M transfer J-Mychal Reese was ruled ineligible by the NCAA.

“It was unfortunate that he had to play out of position,” Benford said. “We had to move him to the point because we didn’t have J-Mych.”

Taylor performed well, handing out 62 assists on the year for the Mean Green, who finished 14-17 and lost to Rice in the opening round of the Conference USA tournament.

“Everyone has their point where they peak,” Taylor said late last season. “I don’t feel like I have reached my peak yet because of all of the setbacks. I am working on putting days together and being more consistent. Hopefully I will get there one day.”

Taylor will continue that pursuit on the professional level, which will leave UNT with one less experienced player returning for Benford’s fourth season with the Mean Green.

Third-team All-C-USA selection Jordan Williams, UNT’s starting small forward and leading scorer at 14.7 points a game, graduated. Forward Colin Voss, who averaged 8.8 points a game, also graduated.

The loss of Taylor leaves UNT with just two of its top five scorers returning in forward Jeremy Combs (10.0 points a game) and shooting guard Maurice Aniefiok (8.5 points a game).

Benford said he feels comfortable with what UNT will have in terms of perimeter players next season with Reese, Aniefiok, DeAndre Harris and a host of newcomers. Carrington Ward will be available after redshirting due to a foot injury. UNT also added Angelina College shooting guard Deckie Johnson and Orlando West Oaks Academy product Tay Holston.

UNT has one scholarship remaining.

Benford said he is looking to add two post players with those scholarships to complement incoming 6-11 center Rickey Brice of Arlington Pantego Christian.

UNT adds walk-on big man in Prosper’s Trevor Thompson

The UNT men’s basketball team picked a walk-on big man for its 2015 recruiting class in Prosper center Trevor Thompson.

The 6-11 center from Prosper announced his decision on his Twitter account Thursday afternoon. Here are a few highlights.

Thompson averaged 9.2 points and 7.0 rebounds a game last season. Here is his profile from Verbal Commitments.

He was a first-team All-District 10-5A selection last season.

UNT lost two of its top forwards in seniors Colin Voss and Armani Flannigan last season and has been in the market for a post player.

MGB video: McCarney discusses where UNT is at after spring practice

UNT has wrapped up spring practice. So how did it go? Dan McCarney gives us his impressions in the video above.

Thursday afternoon notes (Former Guyer QB to SMU, UNT grads sign extensions)

There have been a few items of interest I have been meaning to get to in the last couple of days. Here’s a quick lap around the world of UNT athletics as I empty out the notebook. …

First off, there is nothing UNT fans like more than keeping tabs on SMU, the Mean Green’s neighbor to the south and key competitor in a lot of ways.

I bring it up because a player with local ties elected to Pony up today. Nationally ranked quarterback David Moore, who was briefly at Guyer, committed to SMU today. He was only around for a couple of months vying for the starting job before Jerrod Heard, the potential starting quarterback at Texas, handed the job off to Shawn Robinson, the No. 1 ranked dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2017 who just picked up an offer from Alabama.

It doesn’t look like UNT was ever involved with Moore, and considering the number of young quarterbacks on the roster, that makes sense. He was also all the way down in Georgia finishing out his high school career.

Moore landing at SMU is just something to watch down the line. There would be a lot of interest if someone who made a pit stop at Guyer ends up starting at quarterback for SMU in a game against UNT. The Mustangs are starting to build a little pipeline to Guyer. Wide receiver Alex Honey signed with the Mustangs last year. The Mean Green have Guyer product John Schilleci.

There has also been some good news that has come down in terms of former UNT players in the NFL. …

Both Craig Robertson and Lance Dunbar signed new contracts. Each has been a great representative of the Mean Green in the NFL.

And finally, the Charlotte Business Journal had a breakdown of the College Football playoffs revenue distribution by conference.

 

Conference BCS payout
1. Southeastern Conference $71.4 million
2. Pac-12 Conference $68.9 million
3. Big 12 Conference $67.4 million
4. Big Ten Conference $61.3 million
5. Atlantic Coast Conference $57.2 million
6. Mountain West Conference $20.7 million
7. Conference USA $15.2 million
8. American Athletic Conference $14.1 million
9.  Mid-American Conference $12 million
10. Sun Belt Conference $11.5 million
11. Independents $2.8 million

It’s a good sign for C-USA to come in ahead of the American when it comes to revenue distribution figures.

Mitchell adds Tron Griffin to staff

Griffin

Griffin

UNT announced late Wednesday night that Tron Griffin has joined Jalie Mitchell’s staff with the Mean Green women’s basketball program. Griffin has spent the last three seasons at Prairie View A&M.

Griffin will serve as UNT’s recruiting coordinator in addition to working with the Mean Green’s post players.

Griffin coached at Bethune-Cookman before joining the staff at Prairie View.

Griffin graduated from Bethune-Cookman, where he was a four-year letterman in football in addition to lettering one year in basketball.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of the brand-new staff and just helping this program get back to its winning ways,” Griffin said in a prepared statement. “I really appreciated how humbling it was to have Jalie explain her vision for the future of the North Texas program. After having the initial conversations with Jalie, then coming on campus and speaking with Rick [Villarreal], I was so grateful how welcoming everyone was.”

Griffin is originally from Florida.

“Tron is an impressive individual and you realize that as soon as you meet him,” Mitchell said in the release announcing the addition of Griffin. “He’s extremely confident, hard working and he carries himself very well. We crossed paths many times on the recruiting trail and he has always been focused, attentive and knowledgeable. I’m thrilled to have him join me on this journey.”

Kasondra Foreman, a former UNT player who has spent the last two seasons at Northwestern State, is also expected to join the staff.

Colin Voss talks about pro day, what happened with NCAA appeal, notes

I caught up with Colin Voss after his pro day workout this afternoon at Apogee Stadium and the Mean Green Athletic Center. The former UNT power forward with the basketball team is trying to make the jump to pro football, a goal he talked about during his senior season.

The Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs came by to see Voss work out. He ran an unofficial 4.93 40-yard dash and put up 18 bench reps.

I will have a story in tomorrow’s paper, but first a key point.

Voss said that he was considering playing one season of college football at UNT or Toledo, where his brother Trent is a defensive end.

The NCAA denied Voss’ appeal for an extra year of eligibility in football after his four seasons playing college basketball before he could make that decision.

“I didn’t close the door on college football, the NCAA did,” Voss said. “I tried to do it, but they wouldn’t grant me an extra year. I was planning to play a year here or at Toledo with my brother. Those are the two places I wanted to try.”

I asked UNT head coach Dan McCarney about Voss before finding out that Voss wouldn’t have the opportunity to play for the Mean Green, or anyone else for that matter.

McCarney said he would have been open to taking on a talented guy like the UNT senior.

McCarney never got the chance.

Voss found out pretty quickly that the NCAA wasn’t going to rule in his favor and turned his attention to his pro day, which he thought went well.

“I was pretty happy,” Voss said. “I hadn’t done those drills in five years now. I went out with a fun attitude.

“It was hard to say no to those two teams after they called me at home and reached out to me.”

And in a side note, UNT will be the homecoming opponent for Louisiana Tech on Nov. 7