#86 North Texas Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

North Texas Mean Green
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #86
Conference Rank: #2 C-USA
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Last year North Texas had one of their best seasons ever. Back in 2010 the Mean Green won the West Division of the Sun Belt and went to the NCAA Tournament. Last year North Texas went 14-4 in Conference USA play and won 20 games for the third straight season. Unfortunately for UNT, they never got a chance to play the conference tournament and see if they could get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since that 2010 campaign, but the Mean Green are here to stay and will look for another shot at reaching the tournament in 2021.
2019-20 Record: 20-11, 14-4
Coach: Grant McCasland
Coach Record: 61-41 at North Texas, 81-53 overall
Key Departed Players:
Umoja Gibson, Guard, 14.5 ppg
Deng Geu, Forward, 7.5 ppg
DJ Draper, Guard, 4.5 ppg
Roosevelt Smart, Guard, 3.2 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Javion Hamlet, Senior, Guard, 14.6 ppg
Zachary Simmons, Senior, Forward, 8.8 ppg
James Reese, Senior, Guard, 8.6 ppg
Thomas Bell, Senior, Forward, 6.5 ppg
Jahmiah Simmons, Senior, Forward, 1.3 ppg
Jalen Jackson, Sophomore, Guard, 1.0 ppg
Key New Players:
Ruben Jones, Freshman, Guard
Terence Lewis, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
Mardrez McBride, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Abou Ousmane, Freshman, Forward
Mykell Robinson, Freshman, Guard
Four of the eight players from last year’s regular rotation are back in 2020-2021. Javion Hamlet led the way with 14.6 points and 4.7 assists per game. The 6-4 senior does not take too many shots from long range, but he is a consistent shooter and the defense has to respect his ability to shoot the ball. Fellow senior James Reese will look to emerge as the team’s top outside shooter now that Umoja Gibson transferred to Oklahoma. Without Gibson, North Texas will look inside a little bit more to forwards Zachary Simmons and Thomas Bell. Simmons is the big 6-10 forward who will stay in the paint. Bell is a more versatile 6-6 forward who can shoot the ball and do a lot of work on the glass. Those four seniors will be the core of the Mean Green team, but of course they will need a few more bodies to fill out the rotation. Lanky 6-6 forward Terence Lewis is coming off a great season at New Mexico Junior College where he averaged 18.6 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting 60.1 percent from the floor. Mardrez McBride is a sharpshooter and another talented junior college transfer who will make an immediate impact. The three incoming freshmen are talented enough to at least provide enough depth for Coach Grant McCasland. If the newcomers can gel with the four returning seniors, North Texas can replicate last year’s success and be a contender for a Conference USA title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.1 (178th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.3 (27, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.3 (10, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.3 (140, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (78, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.9 (14, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.1 (45, 3)
Rebound Margin: 2.9 (91, 3)
Assists Per Game: 12.6 (222, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.6 (219, 7)