UNT is having a rare open practice for its men’s basketball team today.
I am here, along with five other people not on the UNT payroll to do a little live blogging before tonight’s football game between the Mean Green and Southern Miss.
We are a full service operation here on the MGB.
First off, a couple of quick hitters:
– T.J. Taylor is still out while working on rehab following knee surgery as expected.
– Freshman guard Greg White-Pittman is out with a minor injury and should be back next week.
11:48 — This is nothing new, but UNT continues to be high on JUCO transfer DeAndre Harris. I have been here for just a couple of minutes, but Harris made a pretty nice defensive play to get block a shot in one-on-one drills. The feeling is that Harris will start for this team one way or another. UNT’s lineup all hinges on whether or not J-Mychal Reese gets a waiver from the NCAA and is eligible just one season after leaving Texas A&M. Reese starts at the point if he gets that waiver.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that happens.
We could then see a lineup of Reese, Harris, Jordan Williams, Colin Voss and a forward to be named later.
Things get interesting, depending on whether or not T.J. Taylor is ready to go at the start of the season.
There are a number of guys who could fit into that fourth spot, including Armani Flannigan or JUCO transfer Muhammed Ahmed.
11:57 — Tony Benford emphasized to his team what he has said a few times in the preseason: UNT will have to rebound by committee. UNT doesn’t have a whole lot of size. Jeremy Combs, Armani Flannigan and Muhammed Ahmed all look like carbon copies of each other. Colin Voss has some added beef, but that’s about it. It’s going to be a fight for UNT to hold up down there.
12:04 — UNT is shooting free throws. The Mean Green shot 68 percent from the line last year, but that total was drug down quite a bit by Armani Flannigan, who shot 28.6 percent. The goal is to get that total closer to 75 percent.
12:15 — Rickey Brice, a 7-footer from Dallas, is on campus today for an official visit. Brice is rated No. 23 on TexasHoops.com’s list of the top players in Texas in the Class of 2015. UNT is at a point now where it lacks size inside. It isn’t a big problem most of the time in Conference USA. UTEP is about the only team out there with overwhelming size, but adding a big guy certainly wouldn’t hurt matters with Colin Voss finishing up this year.
12:28 — UNT is working on its defense. That has been a huge point of emphasis under Benford. UNT really struggled in conference play last year. The Mean Green ranked 15th out of the 16 teams in Conference USA with an average of 72.4 points allowed a game in league play.
12:32 — Another key point about Rickey Brice. This is his second visit to campus. He was here earlier in the year on an unofficial visit. It sounds like UNT has a good shot at him.
12:40 — And there we go. Brice just came back in to practice after touring campus. He’s standing next to Colin Voss and looks like he is a couple of inches taller. It’s hard to tell from this far away. It looks like his family is here with him, which makes sense considering this is an official visit.
12:56 — UNT is running through some five-on-zero offensive drills. Everyone does. What is interesting is who is playing together. In green — Reese, Voss, Flannigan, Williams and Aniefiok. That could end up being a starting lineup.
1:05 — It’s pretty obvious that Armani Flannigan has beefed up a little bit in the offseason.
1:15 — UNT is going to scrimmage here for a couple of minutes. It;s the same lineup in green. In white, we have Harris, Eaglin, Ahmed, Ward and Combs.
1:24 — We talked a little over the last few days about how much better UNT’s roster fits what the Mean Green wants to do in terms of getting up and down the floor. UNT’s big guys are clearly better in that regard. Muhammed Ahmed has shown the ability to handle it in the open floor here in this scrimmage.
And we are out.