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  1. New Mexico Junior College center Ray Barreno will visit UNT this weekend, a Thunderbirds assistant coach confirmed this morning. UNT signed two players in the fall in high school center Rickey Brice and combo guard Ja’Michael Brown and also picked up a commitment from junior college shooting guard Deckie Johnson this week. The addition of that trio left the Mean Green with one pressing need left to address, an presence inside following the graduation of forwards Colin Voss and Armani Flannigan. New Mexico JC assistant Brian Lohrey confirmed this morning that UNT has been recruiting Barreno for the last several weeks. read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2015/04/new-mexico-jc-center-to-visit-this-weekend.html/
  2. read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2013/06/tony-nunn-will-go-to-odessa-jc.html/
  3. UNT defensive coordiantor John Skladany is retiring at the end of the season, a story we covered on the blog and in the paper today. The question now is the impact his departure will make and where UNT goes from here. As far as the impact of Skladany’s departure goes, it’s huge. UNT’s players talked about the connection they have with him and the impact he has made on the program. The guy is just a good football coach. I got some of what UNT’s players had to say in the paper. They unanimously like and respect Skladany. Read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2014/11/thoughts-on-skladanys-departure-where-unt-goes-from-here.html/
  4. When Tony Benford arrived at North Texas in the spring of 2012, he was met with sky-high expectations of NCAA tournament bids and conference titles. That was part of the deal when the former Marquette assistant inherited a future NBA draft pick in Tony Mitchell, not to mention Jordan Williams and Alzee Williams, a pair of players now ranked in the top 20 when it comes to scoring in program history. UNT finished 12-20 in Benford’s first season before breaking even at 16-16 last year. That performance led athletic director Rick Villarreal to acknowledge that the Mean Green must improve and overcome some of the obstacles the program has faced, including competing at a higher level after moving to Conference USA last season. “Tony did a great job of recruiting this year,” Villarreal said earlier this year. “We are excited about the kids he is bringing in, but there is no doubt in his third year, regardless of being in Conference USA, we have to play better.” UNT ran off five straight 20-win seasons followed by an 18-win campaign under former coach Johnny Jones before he left for LSU following the 2011-12 season. The Mean Green haven’t posted a winning season since and are just 13-23 in conference play the last two years. Benford and his players say that they don’t feel any added pressure to break through, but realize that they have to start winning consistently. “We have to win games,” Benford said. “I appreciate Coach V. He’s right. We understand that. We are in it to win. That’s why I took this job. Everyone is in it to win. We are trending that way, and I believe we have made progress and are adding quality players.” Read more: http://www.dentonrc.com/sports/colleges/north-texas-headlines/20141114-mens-basketball-mean-green-look-to-get-back-to-winning-ways.ece
  5. Jeremy Combs made quite the impression during his unofficial debut at North Texas on Thursday during the school’s Basketball Madness tipoff event at the Super Pit. The freshman from Dallas Carter made a host of athletic plays during a scrimmage and then won a dunk contest at the end of the night, which also featured a 3-point shooting contest and a scrimmage for the women’s team. “Jeremy is a really good athlete,” UNT men’s coach Tony Benford said. “I have been doing this 24 years, and he is really talented. There was a day where Jeremy was having one of those practices where he was scoring, running the floor and blocking shots, and [senior forward] Colin Voss turned to me and said, ‘Coach, how’d we get him? He’s awesome.’ He has a chance to be really good.” Read more: http://www.dentonrc.com/sports/colleges/north-texas-headlines/20141024-basketball-freshman-combs-impresses-at-hoops-preview.ece
  6. BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- When Tony Benford arrived at North Texas two seasons ago to coach the Mean Green's men's basketball team, he scanned the rosters of his soon-to-be Conference USA rivals. "I looked at my assistant coaches and said, 'Wow, there are lot of high-major guards in this league,' " said Benford, who had been an assistant at Marquette. "They can be playing in the Big East; that's how good they are." Conference USA has indeed become a guard-dominated league. Look no further than the preseason all-conference team, where seven guards were voted to the 10-player unit. "We've got more teams committed to getting up and down the floor in Conference USA," Charlotte 49ers coach Alan Major said on Wednesday at the conference's media day. "And you've got to have great guards to do that." Major noticed that style of play two summers ago after Charlotte left the Atlantic 10 and was preparing for its return to C-USA, where the 49ers played from 1995-2005. It included three, sometimes four, guards on the floor and smaller, more athletic forwards than what Charlotte was used to seeing in the A-10. Read more: http://www.thestate.com/2014/10/16/3748106_charlotte-49ers-fit-profile-of.html?rh=1 Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/10/16/3748106_charlotte-49ers-fit-profile-of.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
  7. North Texas Mean Green Sunday, December 21, 1:00pm Denton, TX Last Season: The Mean Green finished 16-16 a year ago, but went just 6-10 in Conference USA and advanced to the second round of the conference tourney. They closed the year with four straight road wins, and won as many as 16 games for just the 18th time in program history. Last Meeting/All-Time Series: Creighton holds a 5-4 edge in nine all-time meetings, including a 71-51 win in Omaha two years ago. The Jays are 0-2 in Denton, however, and dropped their last trip in February of 1977, 108-105. Head Coach: Tony Benford, a former associate head coach at Marquette under Buzz Williams, recruited six All-Big East players according to his official bio, including 2012 conference Player of the Year Jae Crowder. He’s compiled a 28-36 record in two seasons at North Texas, but might be close to turning the corner as he’s finally began succeeding in convincing top-tier talent to come play for him in Denton. Top Returners: Leading scorer Jordan Williams, a 6’6″ guard who averaged 12.0 points a year ago and also led them in rebounding with 6.3 boards a game, returns for his senior year. Williams isn’t a terribly efficient scorer, shooting 40% overall from the floor (127-316) and 30% from long-range (33-109), and is a turnover machine, giving it away 60 times (nearly twice a game). He had five double-doubles, including a nice 11 point/14 rebound performance against Rice in the CUSA tourney. Read more: http://whiteandbluereview.com/2014-15-creighton-mens-basketball-opponent-preview-north-texas/
  8. Rickey Brice was looking for more than just a college where he could continue his basketball career when he began sorting through a long list of scholarship offers over the last few months. The Pantego Christian Academy standout also wanted to find a place with coaches and players who felt like family. The 6-11 center discovered what he felt was a perfect fit both on and off the floor at North Texas and committed to play for the Mean Green on Tuesday. Brice has been on UNT’s campus on multiple occasions over the last few weeks and took his official visit to the school Oct. 18, when he watched coach Tony Benford and the Mean Green work out. “The coaching staff is great and it’s not that far from home,” Brice said. “I am big on family. I feel like coach Benford is a family man. He will take good care of me. It’s a great fit. I will have a lot of help and support.” read more: http://www.dentonrc.com/sports/colleges/north-texas-headlines/20141028-mens-basketball-pantego-christian-center-commits-to-unt.ece
  9. Conference USA media days has wrapped up. But before I go to the wrap-up festivities, here are a few thoughts. There is an aura of confidence when it comes to both the UNT men’s and women’s teams, but both are going to depend on a host of newcomers and players coming off injuries. Tony Benford sees J-Mychal Reese as a huge difference-maker at point guard and really played up his overall abilities. He is also developing into a leader for the team. Read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2014/10/c-usa-media-day-wrap-up-thoughts-notes.html/
  10. San Antonio Central Catholic power forward Tony Lewis started out with a list of 25 schools that offered him a scholarship. The 6-foot-9 power forward will head to Denton on Thursday with that list trimmed to about a half dozen and said on the eve of his trip that UNT is well positioned as he prepares for a series of official visits. Lewis will visit Weber State on the 19th and Santa Clara later this month following his visit to UNT. After those visits, Lewis plans to visit two schools out of a group that includes Kansas State, Creighton, New Mexico and Washington State. Read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2014/09/san-antonio-forward-tony-lewis-talks-visit-to-unt.html/
  11. UNT released the nonconference portion of its basketball schedule today. I posted the full rundown at the bottom of this entry. Most people who are interested have probably gone through it by now. We reported earlier that Creighton and Iona would be on this year’s slate, and they are. I talked with Tony Benford for a couple of minutes about the schedule today. He believes it’s the best schedule UNT has put together in the last 20 years. UNT does play some really good teams. Iona isn’t a household name, but that team won 22 games last year. For what it’s worth, USA Today has Iona at No. 54 on its countdown of teams that will make the NCAA tournament. read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2014/09/a-couple-of-basketball-tidbits.html/
  12. During his year with Gillette College, Ahmeds New York-sized heart and intensity were on full display. On several occasions when opponents went on scoring runs, the Bronx bruiser would be the one to respond, whether it be with a long-range bomb or a rim-rattling slam. Division I coaches were paying attention. Denton, Texas, population 113,383 Among those watching were the coaches at North Texas. But they turned their attention to him well before Ahmed became a fixture in Region IX. They were recruiting me the whole year, Ahmed said. They showed that they were really interested and wanted me. I was their No. 1 overall recruit and the first one they brought onto campus. The Mean Green coaches, in part, can thank their association with Gillette College assistant coach Tony Schamber. He and North Texas assistant coach David Anwar both coached at Nebraska when Iowa State assistant Doc Sadler was the Huskers head man. North Texas coach Tony Benford and Anwar also gave Ahmed the impression that they needed the many skills he possessed, friendship between the two staffs or not. (It was) not just that they wanted me. They needed me also, he said. They said that they were missing a player like me to help them get to the tournament. The tournament that Ahmed refers to is the NCAA Tournament, which started Final Four play on Saturday. His longtime goal has been to play in it and he is willing to do what it takes for the Mean Green to go from 16-16 to Conference USA champs, which would give them an automatic berth into the field. The goal is to make the tournament, he said before correcting himself, to help them make the tournament. In his travels from New York City to Gillette, Ahmed has met plenty of players who have already taken part in that tournament. He knows Daytons Scoochie Smith another player with a New York pedigree who helped propel his team to a first-round upset of Ohio State and a Sweet 16 appearance less than a month ago. Hes also crossed paths with players from UConns Final Four team. Many of those hes met he has stayed in contact with, as hell do with his Pronghorn teammates. But Ahmed just wants the chance to follow their lead and fulfill the dream all major college basketball players have, to go dancing figuratively as a part of March Madness. North Texas gives him that chance, but his travels across the country havent hurt, either. I feel like everywhere that Ive went, Ive improved, he said, looking every bit the 6-foot-7 Division I-player hell soon be while sitting in a small coaches office in northeast Wyoming. All my coaches, everywhere, helped my game. His game made its mark on Gillette College hoops too. No question. Read more: http://www.gcpronghorns.com/newsdetail.php?id=175
  13. Mike Rodriguez, a point guard out of Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College, will play in the All American JUCO Showcase in Augusta, Ga., beginning today. UNT has been recruiting the 5-foot-10 sophomore point guard who averaged 16.7 points and 4.3 assists a game last season for quite some time. Rodriguez told us earlier this month that he was leaning toward signing with UNT heading into the camp. Read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2014/07/unt-hoops-recruiting-target-in-action-on-saturday.html/
  14. DENTON - The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic term for scorching heat or dryness, which is ironic considering what North Texas basketball newcomer Muhammed Ahmed has recently been introduced to. A native of the Bronx, New York, who spent the last two years traipsing through the snow at Gillette Community College in Wyoming, Ahmed has joined his teammates in the near triple-digit temperatures of Denton as they prepare for the upcoming basketball season. From medicine ball work to full-field sprints on the Apogee Stadium turf, Ahmed has been put through the ringer by the North Texas strength and conditioning staff and hes done it all on an empty stomach. Ahmed is a devout Muslim, and during the holy month of Ramadan he joins millions worldwide in fasting and prayer. That means no food or drink from dawn until sunset, despite the fact that Ahmed and his teammates undergo strenuous workouts both in the morning and afternoon. "I dont know too many kids that could do this and remain as focused as hes been during training," said E.J. Hairston, the associate athletic trainer at North Texas. "Hes a pretty special kid, and he seems to be handling it really well. Obviously, we monitor him more closely than the other players, but he hasnt taken more than one or two reps off since we started a few weeks ago." Hairston and Co. have kept their eyes on Ahmed during workouts, looking for the tale-tell symptom of dehydration and heat exhaustion: cramping, slurred speech, dizziness and nausea. Preventative maintenance, Hairston says, will be Ahmeds best weapon for staying healthy and hydrated. Read more: http://www.meangreensports.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/071814aaa.html
  15. Former Texas A&M point guard J'Mychal Reese has decided to transfer to North Texas and will start school July 7. Reese made an official visit Tuesday and announced his decision the next morning via twitter. "Also wanna thank UNT for this opportunity. God is good!!" the former Bryan all-state point guard tweeted at @j_mych. North Texas was the only school visited by the 6-foot-1 Reese, who was dismissed 10 games into his sophomore season on Dec. 22 before A&M's game against Oklahoma. Reese missed the first four games of the season for violating team rules, then averaged seven points and 16 minutes a game over six games. Reese had previously met North Texas head coach Tony Benford, who was an associate head coach at Marquette for four seasons under former A&M assistant Buzz Williams. "He wanted to get somewhere that kind of suited him, suited his style," said his father John Reese. "He's had a relationship with Coach Benford for awhile. Coach Benford coached him at a camp several years ago, so they have a little bit of history." Read more: http://www.theeagle.com/reese-to-transfer-to-north-texas/article_312af13c-b0f1-5462-bc92-c9c5fc141ecb.html
  16. If you have been following along on the blog, you saw this coming UNT has added Texas A&M transfer point guard J-Mychal Reese. I am on vacation with Vicky at Yellowstone and havent had a chance to ask about the move (you cant get a cell signal up here), but UNT did make it official today. Before we get to what was said, the key point in the story is that UNT is hoping to get a waiver from the NCAA so that Reese can be eligible this year. He was dismissed from Texas A&M for rules violations after playing in six games and sitting out four last season. UNT lost Chris Jones to transfer and at this point is depending on JUCO transfer Todd Eaglin to come in and run the team if Reese isnt eligible. There are a few other combo guards on the roster, but none were billed as true point guards. Read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2014/06/follow-up-thoughts-on-unt-adding-reese.html/
  17. It was a fun night deep in the Heart of Dallas. Pretty decent turnout, although you would always like to see more. Georgio Dunham was the emcee and shared the stage with his radio color man and Deputy Athletic Director Hank Dickenson. The stage had a beautiful backdrop of the sun setting on downtown Dallas and behind us was the historic Cotton Bowl field. The location was in the club level area overlooking the stadium. As you walked up to the entrance you saw that familiar Big UNT Green luxury bus that has been the main vehicle for all of the caravan events parked up next to the stadium. As you walked in the entrance to an elevator that took you to the 4th floor, you faced a very cool full wall image of UT Head Coach Darrell Royal. As you turned to the left there was a big wall shot of OU's Barry Switzer and some other neat game photos from years past. They served some delicious barbeque and there was a cash bar with cold beer. UNT Cheerleaders greeted you as you entered and Scrappy was up to his usual antics. read more:
  18. I just remember how excited everyone was when he committed. I remember how impressed we all were with his play as a true freshman, he was spectacular in the games that I saw. He seemed to be a good teammate and liked to have fun. He played with style and you were always excited when he had the ball in his hands. It just doesn't seem right that he wouldn't finish out here his senior year. I know this has to be a bitter pill for his teammate and friend Jordan Williams. I am sad that he is leaving the program but I wish him well. He will be missed. This post has been promoted to an article
  19. Holy Cross Hosts Signing Ceremony for Class 5A Player of the Year, Greg White-Pittman, Nephew of NBA Coach Robert Pack WHO: Greg White-Pittman, Holy Cross Guard, Class 5A Player of the Year and Nephew of Former 13-year NBA Veteran/Assistant NBA Coach Robert Pack WHAT: Holy Cross to Host Official Signing Ceremony WHEN: Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:00 Noon WHERE: Holy Cross School, Gymnasium, 5500 Paris Ave. WHY: White-Pittman Commits and Signs with University of North Texas NBA Coach and 13-year NBA Veteran, Robert Pack said, “I’ve watched Greg mature and develop through hard work and determination for many years. I love that he’s not satisfied and is ready to meet this challenge head on! I’m very proud of him and I look forward to watching his continued growth in a green machine uniform for years to come.” When White-Pittman takes his talents to Denton this fall, he will wear the number two on his jersey, to motivate him throughout his college career. “Despite all of my athletic honors and scoring a 22 on the ACT, I only received two offers,” said White-Pittman. “I know I have a lot of work to do to advance to the next level. But, I am excited about what the future holds for me at UNT!” Read more: http://alymediarelations.weebly.com/see-whats-happening-in-the-world-of-aly-media-relations/white-pittman-signing
  20. I know that some on here are ready for Tony Benford to move on down the road after two seasons as head coach. You have the right to your opinion and so I am not questioning that. My question though is would you have raised the same issues in regards to Johnny Jones? In Johnny's first season 2001-02 he went 15-14 In his second season he went 7-21... it took Johnny 4 more seasons before he posted a winning record and led the team to an NCAA tournament bid. So my question is, if the same litmus test was given to Johnny that is being given to Benford by some of us -- ie consecutive losing seasons -- would we have fired a coach that would have taken us to the NCAA tournament and ultimately become a UNT Hall of Famer? Were the same people on here rattling their sabres about Benford doing the same thing towards Johnny when he won only 7 games in a season? I know some bring up the WKU firing of Ken McDonald and hiring of Ray Harper. I looked McDonald up online... it sure seems like there were other issues involved in that decision as he seemed to be having some off the court stuff from what I was reading...who really knows... WKU played it like it was for the good of the program and I am sure that it was but we haven't seen any issues with Benford off the court. Heck even Tony Mitchell has praised Benford...as a coach... Now the Oregon State Coach Robinson gets fired and is used as an example of program courage. He was 93-104 in six years at Oregon State with no NCAA tournament appearances for goodness sakes. That is a BCS school with millions of dollars for buyouts...they can't continue to keep him and keep their boosters satisfied. Again, he was there 6 years and we are using that as a comparison to a coach who has been here 2? To me that is an Apples and Oranges comparison. This is not to say that Benford is without fault because this is a business and you have to produce. He made a mistake on Keith Coleman -- there are others (Armani Flanigan comes to mind). He didn't come to this job with head coaching experience but then again neither did Johnny save an interim stint at Memphis. So like Johnny, he is learning on the job. The straw man argument is that Benford inherited a sweet 16 caliber team when Johnny left. And there is no doubt that Tony Mitchell is an EXTREMELY talented player and there was some talent on that team. But could it be that the chemistry on that squad was "off"? Could it be that the team was extremely overhyped? I think when you look at Tony Benford's mistakes the biggest one was hyping up that team as much as he did. But what did we expect him to do? Come in to a new job with extremely BIG coaching shoes to fill and play down expectations? And yes, UNT doesn't have a bunch of money to buy out contracts but I believe someone posted that Benford's buyout would be in the 300-500K range. Don't you think if we were absolutely convinced this coach was on a road to nowhere could we not pay that out? I think we could and would even though it is not an easy thing to do at UNT. Make no mistake, this year 3 is EXTREMELY important for Benford and if he lays an egg he will be hard pressed to keep his gig. With the exception of Jordan and Chris, it will be his team and he should be held 100% accountable for their performance. He has shown that he can still recruit. Combs from Dallas can play, Greg Wesley will be good and Muhammed Ahmed appears to be a good player as well. I'm interested to see who he lands with this last spot. It will be an entirely different looking team next year. So put me in the camp that wants to see what Benford will do in year 3 of this thing. If he falters, I will man up, admit I was wrong and join up with those who wanted him gone after year 2. GMG
  21. This signing shows the value of Assistant Coach Tony Schamber of the Pronghorns. Schamber was brought on by Neary for not only his coaching abilities, but his recruiting contacts as well. Schamber was the director of player development at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln the same time David Anwar was on the coaching staff. Anwar is now an assistant coach with the University of North Texas. Head Coach Tony Benford of the UNT Mean Machine mentioned how Assistant Coach Anwar boasted about Ahmed's character, attitude, and work ethic. In the team's press release, Coach Benford mentioned that Ahmed is a versatile inside-out player that can fill multiple roles on the court. In a phone interview with Basin Radio Network, Benford elaborated on how Ahmed will be used. "We see him play the [small and power] forwards. He'll be able with his ability to step right in and help us right away." Read more: http://www.basinsradio.com/Ahmed-officially-signs-with-UNT/18839726
  22. When North Texas coach Tony Benford looked at his team heading into his third season at the school, he saw several key holes he and his staff needed to address. Benford couldn’t have been happier with how UNT filled a few of them on Wednesday, when the Mean Green signed junior college standouts Muhammed Ahmed and Todd Eaglin. Ahmed, a 6-foot-7 forward, was named a third-team NJCAA All-American last season, when he averaged 17.6 points and 7.6 rebounds a game for Gillette (Wyo.) Community College. Eaglin ranked third among junior college players nationally with an average of 7.6 assists a game to go along with 15.2 points a game. The 5-foot-10 guard from Tyler Junior College was a second-team All-Region IV selection. Read more: http://www.dentonrc.com/sports/colleges/north-texas-headlines/20140416-men-s-basketball-unt-addresses-needs-with-two-big-juco-signings.ece
  23. UNT post player Kelvin Gaines is leaving UNT to pursue a professional career. read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2014/04/kelvin-gaines-leaving-unt-for-pro-career.html/
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