Basketball Blog On Location With Practice Updates

First Week Of Blogging Comes To A Close                               
5:08 p.m.

The Mean Green is wrapping up a quick but spirited practice with their daily free-throw barrage. The team will be back in action tomorrow, but the Blog will return on Monday to answer all of your emailed questions. You can see the entire team at the North Texas football game tomorrow night. Both the men and women will be introduced on the field during a timeout, and will sign autographs as well.


Talk to you again on Monday.


A Special Visitor Arrives                                                                  
4:59 p.m.

Future North Texas superstar and NBA All-Star Johnny Jones Jr. made his first appearance at practice this afternoon. The Blog will tell you from experience, if you don’t like to lose, don’t play little Johnny in a game of h-o-r-s-e!


A regular at Mean Green practices, the coach’s son is a natural at the game and tears up the Denton youth leagues already.  


Set Piece Dunk Of The Day???                                                     
4:51 p.m.

The Mean Green got a ton of work done on its baseline inbounds plays today. NT honed its set pieces for around 15 minutes, running through the majority of its plays. Harold Stewart might have sealed the Dunk of the Day when he slammed home a lob from Tristan Thompson on one particular play. Who knows if they’ll ever use it in a game, but it sure shook the rafters of the PEB.


Rock The Vote                                                                                   
4:36 p.m.

The Blog did its duty as an American citizen and cast its vote in the Presidential election today. Email the Blog and cast your vote for who you would have take the last shot for the Mean Green this year.


With this group of all-stars, that might be a tougher question than picking a President. You have Josh White who showed his clutch ability with an 84.8 percent mark from the free throw line and a school record 45.8 percent clip from downtown.


Collin Dennis is no slouch with a 42.1 percent 3-point mark, and even Tristan Thompson is a 42 percent shooter. Don’t forget about Adam McCoy, who ranked 14th in the NCJAA in 3-point shooting coming into Denton, and there is a host of great newcomers.


Who would you pick to take the last shot if the Mean Green were down a bucket with just 10 seconds left?


Forrest In The Trees                                                                         
4:17 p.m.

There’s someone the Blog needs to introduce you to. Mean Green nation, meet assistant coach Shawn Forrest, who comes to Denton with a wealth of basketball experience. There aren’t many people out there with more knowledge of the Sun Belt Conference than coach Forrest, who spent the last six seasons at Arkansas State. The Arkansas-Pine Bluff alum will be in charge of his specialty at North Texas recruiting. Forrest helped the Indians (now Red Wolves) to multiple top 100 recruiting classes and most recently landed Ryan Wedel, who was the 2005-06 Kansas Mr. Basketball and went on to be a Sun Belt assassin in his time in Jonesboro, Ark.


Time For The Mailbag
3:57 p.m.

With nearly a week’s worth of practices in the bag, I’m sure the Mean Green nation has a few questions for the Blog. After this practice we are going to take the weekend off, and will return to answer your queries on Monday.


Feel free to submit any questions you might have here.


Competition At Its Finest
3:48 p.m.

Coach Johnny Jones spoke with the team heading into practice to say he is happy with the way they are competing, and the Blog couldn’t agree more. These guys have been going full bore all week and that is what it will take to win the Sun Belt and head back to another NCAA Tournament.


The Mean Green kicked off the day’s festivities with a little 2-versus-1 fast break action to teach the players about taking propera angles. Josh White made an amazing play when he grabbed a big board and took both offensive players to the other end of the floor.


Chillin’ At The PEB
3:31 p.m.

Apparently they are hanging meat in the PEB today. The Blog is estimating the temperature at the men’s practice is hovering around 60 degrees, which is a tad on the chilly side for an indoor facility. I will be using my computer for warmth as trainer Brad Anderson leads the troops through warmup stretches.


Player of the Day
3:13 p.m.
Slight edge today goes to Brittani Bailey. She’s still wearing a pretty large knee brace from her injury last year, but her athletic ability and low post potential was on display today. She a number of low post baskets and is showing the ability to score in transition as well.


Down And Give Me 20
3:03 p.m.
No joke. Free throws are not a laughing matter and Coach Stephens has made that a priority. During the second portion of the free throw session today after some misses, it was push-up time. It worked in Major League, just ask Willie Mays Hayes.  

Showing Some Toughness
2:50 p.m.
Yari Escalera gets today’s toughness award. Working on fast-breaks in transition, Escalera went up and came down hard. And we mean straight down to the ground face first. Yari to her credit, shook it off after only a few seconds and was back in the drills.

Oh My Gosh Its Del Harris!
2:45 p.m.
That was the line the blog heard the last time we covered a basketball practice over here at the Rec Center. It was 2006 and the Dallas Mavericks were holding their first week of training camp over at the Rec Center. After practice thousands of screaming fans were waiting for the players and even the coaches to come out and possibly sign an autograph or two. Well even former Mavs assistant coach Del Harris had adoring fans and that was the line blurted out on the blog’s way out the door.

With it being homecoming the blog was feeling a bit nostalgic and being over here at the Rec Center triggered a few memories.

Freshman Update
2:28 p.m.
We haven’t mentioned too much about the freshman class for North Texas during the week, but we thought we’d give a quick peek at some of the newcomers. First thing is they are all great athletes. Mansa El, is a big guard who is in the same mold as senior Jo Hall. Jeanee’ Thompson has great quickness and in this system has the potential to flourish. Tamara Torru is another big guard who has the presence and size to play multiple positions for Coach Stephens.

All three are going to get some playing time and contribute this season.

Update- We forgot to mention Brittani Bailey. She is still a freshman after receiving a medical redshirt after her injury last season. The Blog isn't into predictions (we did predict the big Prosper win over Celina) but really like the way she looks on the floor and she her as an impact player in the not to distance future.  

Getting Sharp
2:13 p.m.  
Coach Stephens has really emphasized staying sharp today despite being in unfamiliar practice territory. There is still a lot of teaching going on and today is no different. From our underneath the hoop vantage point, driving to the basket, right into the teeth of the defense is a focus. Twice already newcomer Ninye El has made nice moves to the basket and finished.

Lighting It Up
1:55 p.m.
The Pohl Rec Center has all the amenities one could ask for, but the blog has one complaint about the basketball courts. The lighting system is one that reminds us of the old gym that the Hickory Huskers played in.

So who plays Jimmy Chitwood on this year’s team you ask? Two-part answer. Yari Escalera this year and Brittney Hudson next year. Escalera is a senior while Hudson must sit out this year after transferring in.

We Expected That
1:45 p.m.

In the new run and gun style of offense that is going to be employed by Shanice Stephens and Co., we had been waiting to seen some consistent, non-stop running from the squad, and today we’ve got it. For the first 10 minutes of practice, it as been an up-and-down exhibition from one end to the other.

The girls are running in groups of three’s and are working the transition game. Getting a rebound and then it’s off to the races.  The blog loves that style of play and there’s no better way to showcase some of the natural talent than that.  Still a lot of teaching going on, but the girls are picking it the system more and more each day.

On Assignment
1:20 p.m.
The blog moves locations again with the women’s practice moving to rec center today. Updates are ready to roll an stay tuned for what we should be an exciting homecoming eve edition of the blog.




North Texas Mean Green