McCasland Signs Arikawe, Smart On First Day Of Signing Period
JUCO Transfers Set To Join Mean Green Basketball
DENTON -- North Texas men's basketball head coach Grant McCasland has announced a pair of signees on the first day of the signing period. Guard Roosevelt Smart (New Mexico JC) and forward Tope Arikawe (Panola College), signed their National Letters of Intent to join the North Texas basketball program next season.
Smart played one season for New Mexico Junior College, leading the Thunderbirds to a 19-11 record. Smart led the team in scoring at 18.8 points per game and field-goal percentage at 50.1. The Palatine, Illinois native, also led the team in free-throw percentage at 82.6 off 119-for-144 shooting. Smart, a first-team all-region selection, scored in double figures in all 28 games and scored 20 points or more in 11 games. Smart is ranked No. 79 among the top 100 JUCO players in the nation in 2017, according to JUCOrecruiting.com.
McCasland on Smart: "Roosevelt Smart is a tough kid who can really score the basketball. He has an aggressive mentality and is capable of making an impact on both ends of the floor. The fact that he has three years remaining after competing at the JUCO level is a major plus."
Arikawe played two seasons for Panola College leading the Ponies to a school-record 26 wins in 2016-17 and an appearance in the Region XIV tournament final. Arikawe earned first-team all-region and first-team all-conference honors after averaging 11.7 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game. Originally from Nigeria, Arikawe finished with 10 double-doubles and led the team in field-goal percentage at 56.1. Arikawe is ranked No. 53 among the top 100 JUCO players in the nation in 2017, according to JUCOrecruiting.com.
McCasland on Arikawe: "We were really fortunate to be able to land Tope in the spring. Guys with his size and physicality are in high demand, especially when they have his character. He was part of a program that set school records for wins and did things the school had never done. We hope he can help us do the same here."
North Texas 2017-18 Newcomers
Roosevelt Smart -- 6-3 -- Guard -- Palatine, Illinois (Sunrise Christian Academy/New Mexico JC)
Tope Arikawe -- 6-8 -- Forward -- Nigeria (Covenant Christian Academy/Panola College)
Zach Simmons -- 6-9 -- Forward -- Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill HS)*signed NLI during early period