North Texas Daily

Point guard combo Reese and Brown leading men’s basketball offense

Point guard combo Reese and Brown leading men’s basketball offense

November 21
11:27 2015

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceTapout15

Eight months ago, the North Texas basketball team was without a true point guard.

The lack of a traditional floor general showed on the stat sheet, as the Mean Green finished last in Conference USA in assists at just 10 per game, while also struggling in half-court sets frequently.

But through two games of this season, head coach Tony Benford’s squad is averaging 19 assists per game due in large part to the tandem of junior guard J-Mychal Reese and freshman guard Ja’Michael Brown.

“We didn’t have a true point guard last year,” Benford said. “If J-Mychal Reese would have been eligible and able to play with this team last year, we would’ve had a winning season.”

Benford cycled through four different options to find a reliable starter at the position, often trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

According to Brown, the lack of a true point guard is a big hindrance to a team.

“Without a point guard, you don’t really have a team,” Brown said. “The point guard has to be the leader of the team.”

Both Reese and Brown had not played a minute for North Texas before this season, with Reese sitting out last season after transferring from Texas A&M University and Brown being a true freshman.

Despite the limited time they have played with one another, Benford said the two have meshed well together on the court.

“You can see the chemistry,” Benford said. “They’re like brothers. They set the tone for the team and control the ball.”

The backcourt duo has not only produced quality numbers, but have also paved the way for other players  to shine on the court. Six players on the North Texas roster are averaging over 10 points per contest, a statistic that highlights the team’s ability to share the basketball.

Additionally, the Mean Green is shooting 55.4 percent from beyond the arc and 43.6 percent from the field. That indicates the team is not only knocking down its shots, but getting good looks as well.

Reese said the offensive success the team has experienced should be credited to the entire team and its willingness to find the open man.

“We’re getting a lot of assists. I’m not coming down and looking for my shot,” Reese said. “We’re not forcing the issue, and we’re getting the ball and the defense moving.”

Both point guards also have the ability to score when needed. Reese averaged 28.3 points per game at Bryan High School and Brown averaged 18.9 points per game at Pro-Vision Academy.

Scoring the ball, however, is neither player’s focus. Instead, Brown said his main job is to facilitate the offense and get other players opportunities to score. More than anything, Reese and Brown estimate the largest factor in their success so far this season is the ability to play off one another.

“[Brown] is able to play off the ball, which is big, especially since we’re both point guards,” Reese said. “Being able to play off each other really helps.”

Brown agreed.

“I feel like we play off each other real well,” Brown said. “Both of us are able to do everything.”

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