North Texas undoubtedly had the best season in program history. Conference Tournament champions. A berth to March Madness. A 1st team Conference USA performer in Javion Hamlet. And most importantly, the Mean Green’s first win in the NCAA Tournament over Purdue.
Unfortunately, all of that came to an end tonight. Faced with the shooting barrage of Villanova, UNT just couldn’t keep up. But that didn’t frustrate the Mean Green. They kept fighting, and Coach McCasland said in his postgame press conference that the team was still fighting up until the end. They believed in themselves this whole season, and that belief got them to where they were. After the game on Friday, Hamlet said “Don’t ever doubt Javion Hamlet.” Those words struck a chord with a lot of people, including myself. A lightly recruited player, Hamlet worked his way through JUCO, then made his way to UNT where he was a player of the year in the conference. That mentality carried over to the rest of the team, and they were able to reach new hights.
Speaking after the game, Hamlet said he would always remember the brotherhood at UNT, and Coach McCasland was clearly emotional talking about the team. He didn’t want this amazing season to end. It isn’t all over though. North Texas has steadily improved, and with the culture they’ve formed under McCasland with the help of leaders like Javion Hamlet and Zach Simmons, the Mean Green should be a team to look out for in the years to come.