North Texas Daily

COLUMN: Javion Hamlet has to step up, otherwise he’s holding back the Mean Green

COLUMN: Javion Hamlet has to step up, otherwise he’s holding back the Mean Green

COLUMN: Javion Hamlet has to step up, otherwise he’s holding back the Mean Green
March 10
20:07 2021

Javion Hamlet has been the Mean Green’s poster-child since arriving in Denton in 2019. He has not just been the face of North Texas basketball, but the face of North Texas athletics since the departure of football’s most beloved player in Mason Fine. Although Hamlet took Conference USA by storm last year, he’s had an up-and-down season for the Mean Green — and it’s holding his team back.

Javion Hamlet’s debut season in Denton was one of the most historic in Mean Green athletics history. In 2019, he took home, not just the Conference USA Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, but the Conference USA Male Athlete of the Year award as well. He averaged a team-leading 14.6 points per game, shot just under 50 percent from the field, all while playing 30 minutes a night. 

While his stats were not conference-leading, Hamlet led the Mean Green over every other team in Conference USA, as North Texas won their first conference championship in ten years. 

There’s no doubt Hamlet’s start to his career in Denton was historic. Quite frankly, Hamlet could potentially be considered as an all-time great here in Denton, given what he has accomplished in such a short time.

He received high praise from Conference USA and Mean Green fans, setting high expectations for him heading into this season. However, Hamlet has not built on his superb performance last year.

Many North Texas fans expected Javion Hamlet to take his game to an even further level this year. The reigning Conference USA Player of the Year had proven to the NCAA he was an elite-level point guard, and could change the pace of the game at any point on any given night. 

My expectations were high for Javion this year as well. In fact, I even proposed the idea that he could potentially compete for a spot in the NBA Draft if he were to take his game to the next level. 

However, Hamlet’s play this season suggests maybe we were too high on him.

While he’s still averaging great numbers, he has not improved on last season at all. Statistically, Hamlet’s having an almost identical season to his MVP year. He’s averaging just 0.5 percent fewer points per game and his field goal percentage is down six points, all while playing the same amount of minutes a night like he did last season.

Where Javion Hamlet’s play this season draws the line though, is his consistency. 

Hamlet has struggled to find consistency this season. Last year, he was dominant every game and was easily the Mean Green’s best player almost every night. 

Javion Hamlet has struggled to be the No. 1 guy for North Texas night in and night out this season. While Hamlet has put together some phenomenal outings this year, there have been times where he has not shown up when the team needs him the most.

This is a very deep Mean Green team this season and Hamlet may not have to do as much as he did last season. He has been able to share the spotlight this season with the emergence of James Reese and Thomas Bell, but there’s no question North Texas needs Javion Hamlet to play 100 percent every game. 

Hamlet’s play this season has harmed the Mean Green in big moments as well, with North Texas falling short to Louisiana Tech and Marshall due to poor shot selection on his game-winning chances.

To give him some credit, everyone in Conference USA knows who Javion Hamlet is this season. There’s a special kind of treatment that comes with being the reigning league MVP. Teams come into games against the Mean Green knowing they have to cover Hamlet or else he will make them pay.

Whether it’s been poor shot selection, slow starts or just not being able to find high percentage scoring chances, Javion Hamlet has to be consistent for the Mean Green if they want to stand a-top Conference USA and be selected to the NCAA Tournament. He’s the leader the Mean Green needed for a long time and has always been a real treat to watch ever since he committed to North Texas. He has always come up big for North Texas in the past, but now he has to come up even bigger.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Milo Mihaltses

Milo Mihaltses

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