North Texas Daily

Players to watch for the upcoming Mean Green basketball seasons

Players to watch for the upcoming Mean Green basketball seasons

Players to watch for the upcoming Mean Green basketball seasons
October 29
12:49 2013

John Lugo / Staff Writer

The Mean Green men’s basketball team’s leading scorer of the 2012-13 season, guard Jordan Williams, is coming into the season with Conference USA expecting a big jump from him.

The 6-foot-6-inch junior was named as one of the Conference USA Preseason Players to Watch based on the improvements he made over the course of last season. He averaged 14.2 points per game during the season, but 19.1 during his final 10 conference games.

“It’s a big honor and it’s really motivating going into the season,” Williams said. “I had a good season and I did well when it came to scoring and I feel like they saw something in me and I hope to keep it up this year.”

Over the summer, Williams said he has been working on his ball-handling skills, as well as being a more vocal leader.

Brett Medeiros / Senior Staff Writer

Three starters are returning for the 2013 basketball season, and one of them is senior guard Alzee Williams.

Williams is the “iron man” of the team. He led the team by averaging 34 minutes each game in the last two seasons and is the defensive specialist for the team.

“I take pride on being on the court all the time,” Williams said. “It’s just the part of me that wants to be out there every minute and do the best I can to help this team.”

During the offseason, Williams has been working on his jump shot – the main area of his game that prevents him from being a complete player.

“Alzee is a well-rounded, five-tool, complete player and if he can continue to knock down open jump shots he will have a really great year,” head coach Tony Benford said.

Faye Darku / Intern Writer

After being ruled ineligible by the NCAA transfer rules, UNT’s junior guard T.J. Taylor is looking forward to getting on the court this season

“It feels great to be back,” Taylor said. “There’s some growing pains but I’ll get through it.”

In the last three seasons, Taylor has transferred schools three times. He began at the University of Oklahoma and then transferred to Paris Junior College. He then ended up at Marquette University, where he met Benford, who was the associate head coach at the time, and followed him to UNT last summer.

Taylor said he worked on ball-handling, shooting and rebounding this summer.

“I expect to have a pretty decent year,” Taylor said. “I’ve put in a lot of work over the summer and I want us to win the conference championship.”

Ehsan Azad / Staff Writer

Raising expectations is what sophomore forward Alexis Hyder wants to do heading into the start of the Mean Green women’s basketball season.

“I don’t want my freshman year to be the only year that I did well,” Hyder said. “They have new scouting reports on me, so I have to raise my game to that,”

Hyder was the Mean Green’s best scorer and rebounder last year, averaging 14.2 points and 8.8 rebounds. She ran all through the off-season to get conditioned as the team moves to Conference-USA.

“She had a really good freshmen year and I assume she is going to pick up right where she left off,” head coach Mike Petersen said.  “Obviously, she is an important part of what we’re doing.”

Akshay Mirchandani / Staff Writer

Guard Laura McCoy is one of four seniors on the Mean Green women’s basketball team and has stepped into a leadership position on the team.

“[The seniors] have been here for three years,” McCoy said. “We know what it’s like to step on the court and play and we have to demand that out of the younger girls.”

On the court, McCoy’s biggest strength is three-point shooting. Last season as a junior, McCoy started in 28 out of 30 games and knocked down 55 three pointers. She is currently third all-time in career three pointers made with 127, behind Ashley Norris’ 197 and Nicole Thomas’ 159.

Jeremy Eackles / Intern Writer

The Mean Green women’s basketball team will be welcoming the highly touted, 5-foot-7-inch freshman guard Candice Adams to its roster this year.

Coming out of Cedar Hill High School in Cedar Hill, Texas, Candice Adams was a four-star talent and was ranked as the No. 99 recruit and the No. 29 point guard by ESPN.

Before signing with UNT, Adams committed to the University of Texas during her freshmen season in high school.  Adams backed out of her commitment with UT and decided to sign with UNT because of current Mean Green coach Mike Peterson’s coaching style.

“I came here because I love the coaching staff,” said Adams. “I really believe there should be a good connection with the player and coach.”

Adams knows that transitioning from high school to collegiate sports will be different, but she says that she looks forward to the challenge, and said she wants to contribute immediately.

“I’m very confident with her shooting the basketball,” head coach Mike Peterson said. “She is one of the best standing three point shooters that I have ever coaches and she has ridiculous range.”

The goals are high for Hyder as she wants to continue to break personal records and lead her team to a conference win.

Junior guard Jordan Williams shoots on the ball during practice last week. Feature photo by Harris Buchanan / Staff Photographer 

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