North Texas Daily

Opinion: Real talk with Ryne: Men’s basketball has more holes than patches

Opinion: Real talk with Ryne: Men’s basketball has more holes than patches

April 10
22:06 2013

Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writer

Watch freshman guard P.J. Hardwick cross over dumbfounded opponents at the Pohl Recreation Center for the rest of the semester because it’s the last you’ll see of him on a UNT basketball court.

Hardwick, who averaged about four points and 24 minutes a game, led the Mean Green men’s basketball team with 81 assists this season. He started 16 games after sophomore guard Chris Jones broke his foot on Dec. 29.

This seems to be smoke from the UNT basketball program’s fire. This is the second member of the 2012 recruiting class to leave. Freshman Clarke Overlander left the program last month. Overlander, who would have been a great red-shirt candidate, played about seven minutes per game instead because of the numerous injuries to the Mean Green roster.

With the 12-20 record this season and an evident lack of enthusiasm from sophomore forward Tony Mitchell, his eminent NBA departure became apparent. To his credit, it’s tough to play triple teamed. The injuries of the team’s best shooter and its starting point guard did not help support an inside presence like Mitchell’s.

Chalk Mitchell up as an expected loss along with the four graduating seniors.

That leaves three starters, highlighted by last season’s leading scorer, two players who sat out the season and a role player. Add in the three players signed in November’s early signing period: Arlington Seguin’s Greg Wesley, Florida-native Tony Nunn and Houston Kingwood’s Joshua Friar. All three players are listed at 6 feet 3 inches or taller.

However, that still leaves a lot of problems at the guard position.

Like all recruits, it’s hard to tell if they will pan out. With a lot of gaps to fill, head coach Tony Benford has a substantial challenge during the regular signing period starting April 17. Benford’s ability to recruit is where he shows his coaching expertise, but there hasn’t been a lot of news on what he’s planning.

With the recruiting window closing and another unexpected scholarship opening up, it will be interesting to see who he manages to reel in.

If UNT is considered a certain type of athletic school at all, it is certainly a basketball school.

Hopefully, Benford and his team are just holding their cards for one big play. If not, it may be time to cash out.

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