North Texas Daily

OPINION: Mitchell’s return also helps UNT off the court

OPINION: Mitchell’s return also helps UNT off the court

April 12
00:15 2012

Brett Medeiros / Senior Staff Writer –

On Monday, all of Denton collectively took a deep breath and a well-deserved sigh of relief, because last year’s Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year Tony Mitchell announced he is returning to the Super Pit for his sophomore season.

Mitchell is without question the face of Mean Green athletics, but what some people don’t realize is that the effect he will have on next season’s team could be monumental.

Look at the starting lineup. As much as current seniors Tyler Hall, Kedrick Hogans and Alonzo Edwards gave to this team, their playing time was limited last season.

Mitchell’s return should be frightening enough as it is, but one can’t help but wonder how great Mitchell and freshmen guards Jordan Williams and Chris Jones can be together.

Shortly after Mitchell became eligible to join the team in December, Jones and Williams became academically ineligible, making it impossible for the team’s top three scorers to be on the court at the same time.

Last year, just the presence of Mitchell got a fanbase that struggles to get behind its teams to come out every game night and average an attendance of more than 4,000 people.

If all goes well next year, the Mean Green could find itself with 25 wins, a Sun Belt Conference title and a 2013 NCAA Tournament appearance.

The success in the season will bring even more fans to the Super Pit and more national coverage, and it should help Mitchell improve his NBA Draft stock.

Most people don’t want to see the day when the school’s most prominent athlete leaves for the pros. Personally, I can’t wait. Mitchell still needs this season to let his game mature. He needs to create a back to the basket post game and to refine his face-up game.

When he fine-tunes his game, he will be a NBA Draft lottery pick, and I would help him pack his bags.

When he’s drafted, UNT will become a destination for some of the best players in the nation, particularly in Texas.

Men’s basketball head coach Johnny Jones has already created a huge success out of nothing when he joined UNT, and now, Denton could become a preferable destination for top tier recruits.

Next season, the Mean Green can be the No. 1 team in the state of Texas.

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