Mean Green Basketball Is In An Awful Place

Is it bad form to state the glaringly obvious? North Texas is on a ten-game skid, and winless in nine games in CUSA play and put the best player on the shelf for the rest of the season.

The super fans of the program have resigned themselves to waiting for the end of the year, and so the end of Tony Bedford’s contract that most certainly will not be renewed.

For the fans who desire a bit of action and hands-on management, this is frustrating, but probably understandable. While I can be convinced of the value of a change in head coach even at this point in the season, I know it will do only the slightest bit of good.

Tony Benford has the misfortune of being a good guy, but a bad college head basketball coach. This has caused nearly everyone who has interacted with him to feel conflicted when discussing the program’s situation. For those who know him and have an unfamiliarity with a winning program, this has prompted flailing defenses of his time in charge.

He has had talent, he has had time. He has had support. He has had losing seasons.

We’ll leave aside whether or not it was possible to have changed directions a couple of seasons ago as that would have been RV’s decision, and he was (essentially) fired. Wren Baker may have slipped into a fortunate situation in Seth Littrell, but basketball presents a golden opportunity. Baker coached the sport (successfully!) and the sport is the one that requires much fewer resources and has a quicker turnaround time. The right coach and the right players can work magic.

The program is at about the same point as football was when McCarney was fired, just without the notoriety. It is scraping the bottom of the standings and no one is at the games. All we need is a little patience.

But what about the players? One reason I do not begrudge recruits their indulgences (legal, and moral) is that they have the rawest deal in this collegiate game. The transfer frequency bothers me as a fan — it is hard to keep up with the swapping of players — but not as a rational adult. Appreciating college basketball is hard enough without shoehorning nostalgia as a style guide into it.

If the current guys decide the new coach is too much unlike what they wanted in a program leader, then I do not mind their transfer. Convincing the players to stay is the responsibility of the new guy. That is, of course, if he thinks these guys are going to help him get wins. So it goes.

All that rational thought stated, it is hard to watch the team struggle so hard. We will have to continue being patient.