North Texas Daily

UNT basketball loses four players to transfer

UNT basketball loses four players to transfer

April 24
22:05 2013

Tim Cato & Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writers

For fans attending a basketball doubleheader in the Super Pit next season, some faces will be missing. In addition to five graduating seniors, four underclassmen chose to transfer from the two Mean Green basketball teams this spring.

Men’s basketball

The Mean Green men’s basketball team has two unexpected scholarships to fill after freshman guards Clarke Overlander and P.J. Hardwick requested releases. Overlander and Hardwick join more than 260 collegiate players transferring around the nation this offseason.

Overlander has already committed to Arkansas Tech University, and Hardwick said he will be taking visits to Arkansas State University, St. Mary’s University, Virginia Tech University and one other school.

Hardwick said the coaching system and style of play at UNT didn’t fit his fast-paced style.

“It is hard because I built a great relationship with all of my coaches and the North Texas family,” Hardwick said. “But it’s a business decision. I had to make the best decision for me and my career.”

Overlander said via Twitter that he only had one comment about his experience at UNT.

“I loved every minute of being a member of the Mean Green,” Overlander said. “And I’m even more excited to be an ATU Wonder Boy.”

The official signing period for basketball started April 17 and ends May 15. Benford said the difficulties in recruiting are both emotional and logistic.

“You never want to lose kids, but I want them to be happy,” Benford said. “You have to be like a Boy Scout when you’re a coach. You always have to be ready. I tell my guys you have to recruit year round, and we are. We’ll get some quality players.”

Preseason hopes were high for the Mean Green, but injuries and personal issues limited UNT’s success. The team finished 12-20 and was eliminated in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament. Hardwick and Benford said things would be different if the season had been more successful.

“If we would have won, things would have gone better,” Hardwick said. “I think I would have been a little bit happier, coach would have been happier and I think everyone would have been happier.”

Hardwick said he waited until the season ended and had a meeting with his family before making the decision.

“We thought about it and said, ‘No matter what the consequences are, you have to live with the decision,’” Hardwick said. “I said, ‘OK, I’m comfortable with it.’ I opened up my recruitment and tons of D-I schools are calling me, so I think I made the right decision.”

The team has already filled a few vacant holes. Yesterday UNT announced that All-Region IX forward Armani Flannigan has signed a letter of intent for next season.

Flannigan, who will transfer from Central Wyoming State University, is a player with similar athleticism to that of sophomore forward Tony Mitchell, Benford said in a press release.

Flannigan joins three other forwards – one transfer and two freshman – who have already committed this offseason.

Women’s basketball

As head coach Mike Petersen heads into his second year with the Mean Green, his team will be without freshman guard Loryn Goodwin and sophomore forward Braylah Blakely.

Goodwin is leaving UNT asfter one of the best freshman years in school history. She was named the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year and broke several school records, including the most made three-pointers in a single season.

“I took into account three questions,” Goodwin said. “Is this the highest level I could play at? Am I showing the best possible version of myself in the environment that I’m in? And last, could I see myself here for the next three years being happy and the best possible player I can be?”

The freshman said the answer to all three of those questions was “no,” which spurred her decision to move on with her career. She said she doesn’t know where she will go because it is not official, but said she is “almost positive” that it will be out of the state.

Goodwin said she has received offers from multiple schools including Butler University and the University of Hawaii.

“I’ve gotten my freshman year out of the way, seemingly the hardest year,” she said. “I think I’m mature enough to make the move.”

Petersen declined to comment on Goodwin’s transfer, saying it was a “closed book.” However, he said that player transfers are quite common in women’s basketball.

“I don’t think there is a common thread,” Petersen said. “Different kids have different reasons, and I don’t think there’s one unifying thread that runs through all of them. I know this: there are a ton of transfers right now in women’s basketball. It’s too bad, but that’s kind of the nature of our game right now.”

Blakely played in all 26 games last year, including a 16-point, five rebound effort against Texas State University in the first game of the season. She is talking to other schools but said it was too early to predict where she will play next year.

“I felt like this fit wasn’t good for me,” she said. “Coach [Petersen] and I didn’t connect on the same page, so I decided to move.”

Seven incoming players will be eligible to join the women’s team in the fall – four redshirt players from last season, two incoming freshmen and a junior college transfer. It remains to be seen if they can fill in for the departed Mean Green athletes.

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