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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Watch out for revamped North Texas the next few years

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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For a program that loses its four leading scorers off a team that finished a pedestrian 8-8 in the jumbled Sun Belt League this past season, North Texas has plenty of reason to be optimistic about its future.

The Mean Green have quietly assembled a crop of incoming recruits and transfers as talented as next year's newcomers at many top major-conference programs.

There's Tony Mitchell, the former Missouri signee once rated Rivals.com's No. 12 recruit in the class of 2010. There's a highly touted four-man recruiting class headlined by 6-foot-6 small forward Jordan Williams. And there's Oklahoma State transfer Roger Franklin, a former top 100 recruit who announced he'll attend North Texas on Monday and could become eligible next season if the NCAA grants his hardship request.

According to the Denton Chronicle, Franklin's father had brain tumors removed a few years ago and since has experienced symptoms that suggest the tumors may have returned. The Dallas native said he left Oklahoma State to be closer to his father, so he's hopeful the NCAA will not force him to sit out next season.

"We are extremely excited about the addition of Roger Franklin to our basketball program," North Texas coach Johnny Jones said in a statement. "I think the qualities of his game will truly enhance our team. What he will bring, along with his impact on both ends of the floor, is his leadership skills. We look forward to welcoming him to the Mean Green family."

While Franklin averaged only 1.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game in limited minutes at Oklahoma State as a sophomore, an increase in playing time and a drop in competition should enable him to excel. Furthermore, the junior would add much-needed experience for a North Texas team that will be extremely young next year. {YSP:MORE}

The Mean Green missed the NCAA tournament this year as a result of a game-winning step-back 3-pointer by Arkansas Little Rock's Solomon Hill in the closing seconds of last month's Sun Belt League title game.

If both Franklin and Mitchell are able to play next season and the incoming class makes an immediate impact, North Texas might be able to avoid a rebuilding year and contend once again in the Sun Belt League.

It was only three years ago that South Alabama earned an at-large NCAA tournament bid and that fellow Sun Belt League power Western Kentucky reached the Sweet 16. North Texas might be the next Sun Belt team capable of such achievements.

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