#117 North Texas Men's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

North Texas Mean Green

2012-2013 Overall Rank: #117
Conference Rank: #2 Sun Belt
North Texas Men's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
North Texas Team Page


North Texas never really had the opportunity to put all of their players together during the 2011-2012 campaign. At first Tony Mitchell, a freshman transfer from Missouri, had to miss the first nine games of the season. Once Mitchell could play, he did exactly what everybody thought he would do…dominate the Sun Belt. He averaged 14.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks and is capable of much more than that. Point guard Chris Jones missed the final 13 games of the season after averaging 14.1 points, 4.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.4 steals. Jones was even one rebound short of recording a triple-double against Troy. Like Jones, Jordan Williams also missed the last 13 games of the 2011-2012 campaign. Williams started 13 games, but he did his best work coming off of the bench.

2011-12 Record: 18-14, 9-7
2011-12 Postseason: None
Coach: Tony Benford
Coach Record: First season at North Texas, 0-0 overall

Who’s Out:
Kedrick Hogans and Tyler Hall are the only losses from last year’s squad. Hogans started 15 games and was a solid big man who could do the dirty work in the paint. Hall was one of a couple guards who saw quality minutes off of the bench. The losses on the coaching staff are a bigger concern. Coach Johnny Jones left the Mean Green for LSU, his alma mater, after 11 seasons in Denton. However, UNT made a nice hire with longtime assistant Tony Benford.

Who’s In:
If North Texas needs anything for the 2012-2013 campaign it is depth in the paint. Coach Benford has it with junior college transfer Keith Coleman and Grambling State transfer Justin Patton. Coleman is a great addition to the team and one of the best available players coming from the juco ranks in this class. Coleman, at 6-10 and 250 pounds, has the size to allow Mitchell to move to the power forward spot and use his athleticism instead of having to spend some much time at the five spot. Patton was Grambling State’s leading scorer and rebounder two years ago and can be a beast on the glass even if his offense is stymied by the better defensive big men in the Sun Belt. The incoming freshmen are point guard P.J. Hardwick and Clarke Overlander. Those two should have plenty of time to develop their skills.

Who to Watch:
Without Jones and Jordan Williams, the North Texas backcourt was lacking in production. They did not have a point guard or a solid sixth man to bring in off of the bench. However, Alzee Williams and Brandan Walton are experienced players who will likely hold onto the starting jobs they ended the 2011-2012 campaign with. Alzee Williams, a 6-4 junior, can do a little bit of everything. He may not be as strong on the glass as Jordan Williams, but he is a good slasher who can score around the basket and hang onto the ball. Walton is the shooter on the team. North Texas consistently struggled from beyond the arc last season, but Walton was the one player who was at least somewhat consistent and prolific from long range. That is one reason why he stepped into a starting role and one reason why he might stay there. Trey Norris, a 6-0 sophomore, will find it difficult to see more than the dozen or so minutes he averaged last season assuming everybody stays healthy and eligible.

Final Projection:
With Mitchell alone, North Texas can beat just about anybody on any given day. An extra year of experience and the impact of the newcomers in the frontcourt will make the Mean Green even more dangerous. Coleman may earn a starting gig, but UNT does have plenty of frontcourt players who can help out. Roger Franklin started 16 games a year ago and the former Oklahoma State wing could play at the four spot when Coach Benford wants to play small. Jacob Holmen, at 6-8 and 225 pounds, has more size. He is also a decent outside shooter for a big man and can spread the floor with his shooting ability…although Mitchell can do the same from the four spot. Niko Stojilkovic is an interesting prospect who saw limited action after transferring in from Lon Morris College. With that kind of depth in the frontcourt, UNT can do a lot of things with Mitchell and that is scary for the rest of the Sun Belt. Assuming the backcourt can stay intact for the entire season, this is a group that can do a little damage come March.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Chris Jones, Sophomore, Guard, 14.1 points per game
Brandan Walton, Senior, Guard, 8.8 points per game
Alzee Williams, Junior, Guard, 10.5 points per game
Tony Mitchell, Sophomore, Forward, 14.7 points per game
Keith Coleman, Sophomore, Forward, DNP last season

Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#22 Tony Mitchell