North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball roster set and ready for new season

Men’s basketball roster set and ready for new season

Men’s basketball roster set and ready for new season
September 11
09:51 2013

John Lugo / Intern

With five new players and the move to Conference USA bringing adjustments to the Mean Green men’s basketball team, it also brings leadership and experience.

The incoming players are expected to give a boost that the team needs to compete with the conference. With the new additions and returning junior forward Keith Coleman, head coach Tony Benford believes that the team can overcome the loss of the team’s starting forwards. Roger Franklin
graduated in May and Tony Mitchell was drafted into the NBA by the Detroit Pistons.

“We’re losing great players in Tony and Roger but as a collective group I think we can be better inside because we’re bigger, stronger and more athletic,” Benford said. “We’ve recovered and we got guys with experience.”

Among the new faces on the team is 6-foot-10-inch junior Kelvin Gaines, a transfer from Cincinnati who has NCAA tournament experience. Gaines said he chose UNT because of the opportunity for major playing time and because he is ready for the challenge of a new conference, partly thanks to the
team’s coaching staff.

“I think they can really help me bring out the potential I have,” Gaines said. “This was the situation I was looking for, to play right away and actually help. I think I can bring leadership because a lot of people haven’t been there [the NCAA tournament].”

Along with Gaines, other new players include junior forward Colin Voss from Northern Oklahoma College, junior forward Armani Flannigan from Central Wyoming State University, freshman forward Greg Wesley from Seguin High School and senior guard Vertrail Vaughns from George Mason University.

Vaughns came to UNT for the education and to be closer to family, but the transition has been easier because he grew up in the Dallas ISD like many of his teammates.

“I knew Chris Jones, I knew Jordan [Williams], I knew T.J. [Taylor],” Vaughns said. “It’s like a purpose. We were sent here for a reason [that] we have to fulfill.”

Both Vaughns and Gaines are college graduates with a year of college eligibility left. They are enrolled in UNT’s master’s program.

Senior guard Alzee Williams said helping the transfers get adjusted to the team and UNT as a whole has gone by smoothly because the new players are all willing to play team basketball and want to win.

“For the most part, all of them came in on the same page. Our chemistry is clicking right now,” Williams said. “There’s more maturity and it’ll be better for us in the end.”

This year’s schedule will give the team a chance to play against recognizable basketball teams across the country – Texas A&M University, the University of Oklahoma and Brigham Young University, among others – and use those games to learn more about where they are as a team.“We will be tested pretty early and that’s what we need. You always have to figure out where you’re really at,” Gaines said. “The competition is going to be great.”

While the team has a chance at recognition with certain games in the schedule, Benford plans to make the focus of the team go one game at a time.

“I tell my guys all the time, you can’t just punch the elevator to go to the top,” Benford said. “You have to take it one step at a time and that’s what we’re doing. No excuses.”

Additional reporting done by Tim Cato, Sports Editor.

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