North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball season preview

Men’s basketball season preview

Men’s basketball season preview
October 31
18:37 2013

The Mean Green basketball team returns for another season this Friday, when the men’s team takes on Oklahoma City University in an exhibition game.

With a new conference and a new look for the team, the Mean Green is looking forward to beginning Conference USA play. The team added seven new players to the roster.

Expectations were high last season, with hopes to make a big leap in the Sun Belt Conference with former forward Tony Mitchell, who was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Draft this summer. However, the team finished with a of 12-20 and lost in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

With UNT facing many new opponents in C-USA, second-year head coach Tony Benford said he expects his new players, particularly the guards, to mesh well with the returning players and fit better with his system.

“It’s a great opportunity for us, and it’s a great conference,” Benford said. “When you look at our roster, we have really good guards. When you go into a league like this, you want good guard play. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Junior guards Jordan Williams and Chris Jones will return to their spots in the starting lineup and are preparing to have more vocal leadership roles. Jones said the team has been making strides so far on the defensive end.

“Our rebounding is a lot better, and our team defense, helping our teammates when someone gets beat,” Jones said. “You trust your teammates to be right there to help you.”

In addition to the defensive focus, Benford said the team has improved a lot offensively. He had been coaching a fast-paced offense that runs up and down the court at a high tempo.

“You’re going to see a lot of up and down basketball. We’re going to try to get easy baskets in transition,” Benford said. “With the guards that we’ve added, we have a lot of depth at the perimeter so we can pressure people a lot more than we did last season.”

The new players added to the team have worked on developing chemistry with the returning members. Many players bring experience from previous schools.

“We got some older guys, but the chemistry is going pretty well. I haven’t started passing out playing time, but we’ll see,” Benford said. “If we can get them to play hard, play unselfish basketball, rebound and defend, we’ll have a chance at a good season.”

Junior forward Colin Voss is one of the additions, and hopes to set a good example. He previously played for Northern Oklahoma College and Central Michigan University for two seasons.

“I’ve been playing college basketball for three years so I’m pretty confident that I can change from what I used to do to the new stuff,” Voss said. “Our system is good, we got a good team and we should be pretty good this year.”

Jones said that last season showed the need for the players to put in more effort. The six returning players on the team are ready to take on the challenge and be more involved with helping each other and the incoming players out.

“I don’t think we gave it our all, by our record, last season. We’re going to go out and play harder, better defense and things like that,” Jones said. “We’re just going to take it one game at a time. We’re going to start Friday and we’re just going to go from there.”

Feature photo: Senior guard Brandan Walton prepares to shoot the ball during basketball practice in the Super Pit last week. Photo by Harris Buchanan / Staff Photographer

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