2017-18 Record: 20-18 (8-10 CUSA), CBI ChampionsKey Returning Players: Roosevelt Smart (G, Jr.), Jorden Duffy (G, Sr.), Ryan Woolridge (G, Sr.), Umoja Gibson (G, RS Fr.), Zachary Simmons (F, So.)Key Losses: A.J. Lawson, Shane TemaraKey Newcomers: Jahmiah Simmons (transfer from Arkansas State), Larry Wise (3-star, Rivals), Mark Tikhonenko (NR), Shakeem Alcindor (NR)
Grant McCasland’s aboriginal division in Denton, Texas concluded on a aerial note. The Mean Green absent six of their aftermost seven Appointment USA amateur and were agape out in the aboriginal annular of the CUSA postseason tournament. But again North Texas accustomed a bid into the CBI and stormed through the tournament, topping San Francisco in a three-game championship series. Roosevelt Smart and Jorden Duffy emerged as bonafide ballers in the tournament, Ryan Woolridge accustomed himself as one of CUSA’s top point guards by breaking North Texas’ distinct division abetment record, and added role players acclimatized in throughout the year.
North Texas is accessible for a additional division acclamation beneath McCasland. Many key contributors acknowledgment and their architect are set high. Can this aggregation abruptness a awash and aggressive CUSA this year and win a bid into the NCAA tournament? Maybe.
Let’s be honest — we’re all acclaim for a book that puts Mean Joe Greene in courtside seats at March Madness, right? Who’s activity to acquaint him to cascade his Coca-Cola into one of those NCAA-approved Powerade cups? That’s right. No one.
With an armory of accelerated and accomplished guards, McCasland’s Mean Green adeptness aloof accept the horses to get North Texas aback in the NCAA tournament, an amphitheatre it hasn’t been in back 2010.
With Marshall, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee and Old Dominion (all in the KenPom preseason top 105), CUSA has a sliver of abeyant to be a multi-bid alliance for the NCAA tournament, but the way in is to win the conference, obviously. Still, if North Texas avalanche abbreviate of that, it would appetite to addition its resume with wins in these games.
Nov. 11 at HawaiiNov. 24 vs. Saint Peter’sNov. 27 at OklahomaDec. 5 at Indiana StateDec. 8 vs. UT ArlingtonDec. 18 at New Mexico
So… Roosevelt Smart.
College basketball admirers should get accustomed with this name. Smart led North Texas in scoring aftermost division with 19.5 credibility per-game, while additionally averaging an abetment and 4.2 rebounds per claiming too. While he can account at the rim, breadth Smart is absolutely electric is from three-point range. A division ago he attempt 38 percent from abaft the arc, bloom 133 three-pointers, which was third best amid all academy shooters, aloof abaft Kendrick Nunn and Fletcher Magee.
A built-in of Chicago, Smart autonomous for the JUCO avenue out of aerial school, spending a division at New Mexico Junior College. He led the aggregation in scoring, acreage ambition allotment and chargeless bandy percentage, and became one of the top JUCO players in the nation. 247Sports called him as one of the 50 top JUCO recruits in 2017. In his aboriginal division in Denton, he bankrupt the school’s distinct division scoring almanac with 742 points. In the CBI, he becoming the tournament’s MVP honors, averaging 23 credibility over six games.
With a candied achievement and activating ball-handling abilities, the 6-foot-3 Smart is a for addition acceptable division with North Texas. He’ll accept a lot of say in how far the Mean Green go this season.
What can Jahmiah Simmons provide?
After sitting out a year due to NCAA alteration rules, Simmons is acceptable to comedy for the Mean Green. Simmons, a built-in of the Virgin Islands, played for McCasland at Arkansas State and followed him to Denton.
As a apprentice at Arkansas State, Simmons played in 25 amateur and started nine, averaging 6.4 credibility and bristles rebounds per game. In Sun Belt play, Simmons led the aggregation in blocks with 19.
While he adeptness be listed at aloof 6-foot-4, it’s bright that Simmons has a adroitness for airy and attempt blocking. Simmons could ample the abandoned larboard by Shane Temera, who averaged 4.8 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per d aftermost season. Rim aegis was an breadth that North Texas wasn’t abundant at aftermost year, averaging aloof 2.72 blocks per-game, acceptable abundant for 268th in the nation.
Umoja Gibson is back
If you watched North Texas’ aboriginal two amateur of the division aftermost year, you bethink Gibson. A 6-foot-1 guard, Gibson formed his way into the starting calendar as a apprentice and did a little bit of everything, tallying 19 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in the division opener. In the additional d of the season, adjoin Nebraska, Gibson’s able comedy connected as he accumulated two rebounds, two assists, a abduct and two credibility in the aboriginal 15 minutes.
And then, things went angrily wrong. Gibson bankrupt his leg and absent the blow of the season. Luckily, North Texas activated for and accustomed a medical redshirt for him.
All signs point to the Waco built-in actuality advantageous this season. He was ranked as one of the top players in Texas advancing out of aerial school. If he can carbon his arch comedy from aftermost season’s baby sample admeasurement and amplitude it over the advance of the season, that would be a actual acceptable affair for the Mean Green.
Another JUCO acquisition for McCasland and his agents at North Texas, Duffy showed flashes of abundant comedy aftermost season, but absolutely bankrupt out in the CBI clash back he was accustomed added minutes. The 6-foot-1 bouncer from Maryland’s Eastern Shore averaged 17.8 credibility over six amateur in the CBI, accouterment North Texas with a atom back it bare it, while additionally complimenting the comedy of Smart and Woolridge.
According to Verbal Commits, Duffy active with North Texas over offers from WKU, Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M, Stephen F. Austin, James Madison, FIU and several others. He’s a bouncer who has a able game, with the hops to accomplishment over taller defenders and the adeptness to t and shoot bound from outside. He additionally averaged 5.8 rebounds and two assists per-game in the CBI.
There’s no catechism that Duffy has the talent, but what North Texas needs out of him is consistency. If he can break advantageous and accommodate that, the Mean Green will be actual difficult to accommodate for opposing defenses. Based on a adduce from Duffy that North Texas tweeted out, he seems accessible to booty on any claiming this season.
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