If you have been following closely this week, UNT men’s head basketball coach Grant McCasland has been rumored all over the place following his third successful season in Denton. It is deserved. He has done well here, and other programs with more resources are smart to at least kick the tires and see if he is willing.
Pete Thamel tweeted that he is staying: “Source: North Texas coach Grant McCasland has committed to stay at the school. Expect the school to continue its commitment to McCasland and his staff again this off-season. He’s already the highest paid coach in Conference USA at $830,000.”
The Denton Record-Chronicle published an article indicating athletic director Wren Baker is committed to keeping Mac, and also keeping him getting paid better than 2/3rds of CUSA.
“I feel really good about what coach McCasland has done here, how much value he put in being here and where we are at as a program,” Baker said. “We are going to continue to take care of him and invest in the program.”
If you are keeping score, Mac has turned down a couple of Power 5 gigs, and reports are that SMU made a serious run at him. Given what we know about his preferences, if any of the P5 ‘local’ programs open up Baker probably will have to dust off the rolodex. Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas, TCU, and the Oklahoma programs are likely ‘no-brainers’ for a McCasland move barring some kind of miracle run that brings a national championship to Denton in the next two seasons.
Baker mentioned “investing” in the program, and that is what is required to build and maintain the program. The athletic department uses funds it has, and can generate. That means fans have to open the wallet and start donating and/buying to make it worthwhile. North Texas filled up the Pit late in the season, but that kind of push was also boosted by some free-and-discounted campaigns. People have to spend the cash to keep Mac employed at this level, not to mention fund the rest of the program’s ambitions.
The AD spending on a contract extension/raise is a sign that your dollars are wisely invested in the basketball program. It is hard to disagree. Mac won banners for the Pit in three straight seasons.
The DRC also noted the departure of assistant coach Jareem Dowling to Kansas State and Mardrez McBride’s transfer portal entrance.
We noted on the most recent podcast that the next step for the program is to upgrade the talent. The departing members are good and talented and have won, but to compete in the AAC, where the likes of Houston, SMU, and Memphis are currently running the league, the disparity in depth is apparent. North Texas played a 7-man rotation, and while there is a lot to be said for that, it was tested as NT went into the post-regular season tournaments.
Mac likes the JUCO route, and it has served him well. North Texas could stand to hit on a big time DI transfer, however. They’ll need to replace three of seven major contributors in Bell, McBride, and Murray. There is also a possibility that Rubin Jones and Abou Ousmane decide to leave.
Expected major contributors next season: Abou Ousmane , Rubin Jones, Tylor Perry. In that group you have a big man, a versatile defender/ball-handler/possible scorer in Jones, and a ball-handler/scorer in Tylor Perry. Add to that Aaron Scott, a guy who played a lot at the big spots even though he probably is undersized.
- A four-man who can defend on the wing a bit, and also step inside and battle a big man like Bell did.
- A big wing scorer. A guy in the 6’3″ – 6’6″ range that can create their own shot and do some slashing for buckets
- A shooter. McBride was the floor-spreader, and someone that can do some catching-and-shooting in the .400 range would be ideal. A three-and-D type.
Now that the contract and all the rest are more or less settled, North Texas can recruit in earnest.