North Texas Daily

COLUMN: Recent transfers are the price to pay for men’s basketball’s success

COLUMN: Recent transfers are the price to pay for men’s basketball’s success

COLUMN: Recent transfers are the price to pay for men’s basketball’s success
April 09
20:23 2021

The men’s basketball team’s dominance has been a long time coming. Ever since the arrival of head coach Grant McCasland, the squad has been trending in the right direction. If the three straight 20 win seasons were not enough proof, last year’s regular-season championship, the ever-growing recruiting class and the individual hardware from Javion Hamlet and Grant McCasland should have been. While the constant success may be rejuvenating for a program that has not seen much, there is a price to pay for being a powerhouse Group of Five school.

It is no secret there is a skill level divide in the NCAA. Big-name schools take up all the attention — attracting all the big-name recruits. For most college sports fans, when the NCAA is brought up, schools like the University of Florida, University of Texas, Ohio State University and the University of Michigan are usually the first to come to mind — programs such as North Texas, are not.

Despite its rich history of being a small school from a college town in Texas, the history behind University of North Texas athletics does not compare to the history behind the household schools of the Power Five.

This is just one of the many reasons why mid-major universities are looked down upon in comparison to larger schools. 

No matter how much success the Mean Green may have, the grass may always be greener on the other side playing for a more prestigious program.

The sad reality is, this is how many college athletes feel. While they may love playing for their homegrown program, players can easily be enticed by a bigger, more historic program. 

This is the problem North Texas men’s basketball should be ready to face. 

As the Mean Green continues to rise up the NCAA rankings, many players may try to take advantage of the team’s success for their own personal gain and transfer to a bigger, better program in hopes of going pro.

Unfortunately, North Texas has already experienced this with former key players like Ryan Woolridge, Umoja Gibson and most recently, James Reese.

This has always been an inevitable issue with college sports and can be seen through football as well. A mid-major program can dominate, but in the end, the Power Five conferences will always have the upper advantage.

The media exposure, the skillset and the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in collegiate sports can be more enticing to athletes than staying at their homegrown university and leaving a legacy. 

Players aspiring to go pro know it is easier to be noticed by scouts and media playing for a high major program as opposed to a mid-major program. 

As the Mean Green continue their success in the future, the athletics department should expect more star players to come and go through their organization, only to transfer to a bigger and brighter program. Players who dominate the mid-major levels are always recruited by more reputable schools, and for some, their time playing in the Group of Five serves as a stepping stone.

It is not often we see players like Javion Hamlet stick with the Mean Green and leave a legacy here in Denton — and for that, fans should thank him. 

The grass may seem greener on the other side for players, and the Mean Green should be ready to experience them using their program as a route to the highest level of collegiate basketball. This is just one of the many growing pains of being an up-and-coming mid-major program, but McCasland and Co. will continue to develop elite talent to help make the men’s basketball program the best it can be.

Featured Illustration by Olivia Varnell

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Milo Mihaltses

Milo Mihaltses

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