I am dreaming the dream of possibility. The most talented North Texas basketball team ever assembled will begin play in the fall. Tony Mitchell will be in the NBA someday. Chris Jones will lead the team in assists and rank second on the team in scoring. Jordan Williams will get break away steals and highlight dunks. Roger Franklin will get clutch rebounds and clutch tip-ins. North Texas will win the Sun Belt. Tony Mitchell will get all the hype. Denton, Texas will be flooded with sports personalities and assorted hangers-on.
Life will change in the Super Pit. Expectations will be raised. Better talent will be found, recruited, and coached. It all starts this fall.
For the first time in a long time — it could possibly be forever — the summer time is the time between basketball games.
I don’t pretend to think that Denton will become a basketball town. It won’t. Not with the two high schools being football powerhouses and cranking out BCS-level talent. No, but if (when?) the basketball team gets a top-25 ranking? Dude. You’ll have kids pretending they are Tony Mitchell and not Derek Thompson.
It is funny. A basketball team has so many fewer moving parts that an Athletic culture change would start there. Instead gobs of time and money have been spent on the football team that has disappointed and — gasp! — even embarrassed the faithful. (Not that I was against it. I spent time and money and lots of words on the football team.)
But let’s not talk about that. Instead lets bask in the glow of potential. Let’s not think of closer-than-is-comfortable games in the final year of the Belt. Let’s not think of foul-prone TM. Instead let’s think about how much better Tony will be after getting skillz from the Amar’e and (Newly crowned 3-time MVP, Finals MVP and NBA Champ) LeBron camps, respectively. Let’s think of the Sun Belters that are going to feel the wrath of CJ and JW as they try to make up for a lost half-season.
Let’s think of how this team has the perfect mix of naiveté and desire and lack of burdensome expectation. Let’s think of how everyone, including the new coach Tony Benford, has something to prove but doesn’t have to do it under too bright a light. Denton is tiny, doesn’t have a television station of it’s own and Dallas and Fort Worth are 45 minutes away.
No pressure. Lots of potential. Everything is looking sunny this summer.
Go Mean Green.