North Texas Daily

COLUMN: Men’s basketball can’t afford to lose Grant McCasland no matter what

COLUMN: Men’s basketball can’t afford to lose Grant McCasland no matter what

COLUMN: Men’s basketball can’t afford to lose Grant McCasland no matter what
April 16
10:00 2021

The North Texas men’s basketball team was nothing short of dominant this year. Key contributors like seniors Javion Hamlet and Zachary Simmons delivered all season long, propelling the Mean Green to another Conference USA Championship. The Mean Green have had some strong talent come through Denton throughout the past five years, but their rise to power couldn’t have been done without their most valuable asset — head coach Grant McCasland.

McCasland joined the University of North Texas on March 13, 2017. He was coming off a rather successful first season as head coach of the Arkansas State Red Wolves, who finished 20-12 overall.

Unlike Arkansas State, McCasland was heading into a Division I basketball program that had seen little success since the early 2010s.

Prior to McCasland’s arrival, the Mean Green were struggling under former head coach Tony Benford with an overall record of 62-95. North Texas never had a winning season in five years under Benford.

McCasland instantly made an impact here in Denton. In just his first season as head coach of the Mean Green, McCasland led North Texas its first 20-win season since 2011.

He followed up his successful first season with two more 20-win campaigns, becoming the first North Texas men’s basketball coach to post three straight 20 win seasons in his first three years since Bill Blakeley in the late 1970s.

It took McCasland just 100 games to reach 60 career wins with the Mean Green, making him the second-fastest men’s basketball coach to do so in program history.

In just four seasons, McCasland has undoubtedly become one of the best coaches to ever lead the Mean Green. The list of accomplishments goes on and on for McCasland, and with North Texas making national headlines in the NCAA Tournament this past season, teams around the college basketball world are finally starting to take notice of him.

However, all the noise surrounding McCasland can be detrimental to his future in Denton.

Rumors of numerous Power Five schools expressing interest in Grant McCasland began to circulate early this offseason. Nearby universities like Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas were all looking for new head coaches, and McCasland’s name was thrown around pretty frequently.

North Texas quickly extended McCasland’s contract at the end of the season, keeping him in Denton through 2025-2026. However, that’s not to say a larger school can prey on him, enticing him to ditch North Texas and join their program for more money.

The athletic department made the right move by extending McCasland’s contract. They see the potential in him, and his long-term effect on not just the basketball program, but the university’s athletics program as a whole.

McCasland is easily one of the best hirings in North Texas history and continues to change the culture of the men’s basketball program every season.

He’s put North Texas basketball recruiting on the map — high school recruits want to play for a winning leader like McCasland, and prospects like Matthew Stone committing to the Mean Green are proof of that.

McCasland has also developed some of the best players to play for the Mean Green in recent history, most notably Javion Hamlet and Zachary Simmons. While players like Hamlet have dominated since joining the Mean Green, there’s no doubt McCasland played a tremendous role in their development.

North Texas can’t lose Grant McCasland. He’s been the most valuable asset to the basketball program since he arrived in Denton. Whatever the future holds for him, he’s already cemented his legacy with the Mean Green.

He’ll continue to make history, and if North Texas is able to hold on to him, the Mean Green has the potential to become a Group of Five powerhouse basketball program for years to come.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Milo Mihaltses

Milo Mihaltses

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