North Texas Daily

Mean Green men’s basketball works around height disparity

Mean Green men’s basketball works around height disparity

Mean Green men’s basketball works around height disparity
November 13
15:16 2013

John Lugo / Staff Writer

Basketball players are famous for towering over an average human, like 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki or 7-foot-2-inch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But the Mean Green has been making due with a center significantly smaller than an average college player.

But for the Mean Green men’s basketball team, it has managed to compete closely with their opponents so far and produce a 3-1 overall record, despite having only one active player who stands over six feet eight inches tall. Taking into account the size disadvantages, the team has outrebounded its opponents overall through four games 177 to 162.

The two players who fit the description are Keith Coleman and Kelvin Gaines, both standing at 6 feet 10 inches. But the team has only had Coleman, since Gaines is recovering from a stress fracture in his foot and isn’t expected to be back until the middle of December.

The Mean Green’s smaller lineup has been using three, sometimes even four, guards on the court at the same time rather than the usual two. Senior Brandon Walton is one of the guards who is seeing an uptick in minutes because of the lineup changes.

“We can hold our own. We’re playing small right now and that’s fine for us,” Walton said. “Our rebounding can improve but once we get Kelvin Gaines I think he can be a tremendous help for us.”

Gaines is a transfer from the University of Cincinnati who brings NCAA tournament experience. Once he returns, head coach Tony Benford said he and Coleman will make a great duo.

“We just got to get him back,” Benford said. “Keith has got to play in the middle, he’s getting focused and he’s playing better. He’s made progress and once Kelvin comes back they’re going to do a great job.”

Senior guard Vertrail Vaughns is another guard who is expected to step up in the absence of height on the team. With that in mind, Vaughns said he believes the guards have done a good job of making up for it.

“We’ve got so many guards that can attack the rim and shoot. I think it balances,” Vaughns said. “Our guard play is really helping us out a lot.”

With the smaller lineup, Vaughns said the style of play also changes to better suit the players on the floor. They’re determined to use their speed and scoring to get past bigger opponent, using quickness instead of size.

Vaughns also likes the team’s defensive ability.

“We’re good in the defensive area,” Vaughns said. “We have to attack more, get to the lane, get our fouls and get to the free throw line.”

Feature photo: The heights of some of the members of the mens basketball team vary in range. Senior guard  Vertrail Vaughns is 6’2″, sophomore guard Austin Mitchell is 6’1″, junior guard Chris Jones is 6’2″, senior guard Brandon Walton is also 6’2″, senior guard Alzee Williams is 6’4″, junior guard Jordan Williams is 6’6″, and forward center Kelvin Gaines is 6’10”. Photo by Margaret Saucedo / Intern Photographer.

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