Royce Huseman could always count on his phone ringing over and over again whenever college coaches came by Kingwood High School over the last few years if Josh Friar happened to be around.
Friar lacks the experience that other high-level college basketball prospects possess, at least when it comes to playing for his high school team.
But that is about all Huseman believes Friar lacks. Friar has the height at 6-8 and the frame to develop into an impact player on the college level.
That potential attracted the attention of the coaches at North Texas, who have been recruiting him heavily since Tony Benford took over as the Mean Green’s head coach after last season. The relationship Benford and his assistants developed with Friar convinced him to commit to UNT after visiting Denton over the weekend.
Oral commitments are nonbinding. The first day recruits in the class of 2013 can sign national letters of intent is Nov. 14.
“Josh is a phenomenal athlete,” Huseman said. “Every time we have college coaches walk into the gym and he is there, I will get seven calls about him. He’s a Big 12-level athlete. He’s so explosive and strong.”
The challenge Friar faces is finding a way to develop that talent. He played for the JV team at Kingwood as a freshman and sophomore. Friar did not play for Kingwood as a junior due to off-the-court issues.
That time he spent away from the program will make his senior season all the more important. Huseman said Friar is still developing the basketball skills he will need to play in college.
“This is a chance for me to develop,” Friar said of his senior season. “I’m starting to understand the game a lot more.”
Despite his relative lack of basketball experience, Friar surely was offered scholarships by Texas-Arlington, Long Island, New Orleans and Southern.
“He’s 6-8 and strong as an ox,” Huseman said. “If he was highly skilled, he would be going to Kansas. If he matures, he would be a stud at North Texas.”
Friar believes UNT’s new staff led by Benford will help him tap into his potential and help him grow as a person.
“The main reason I committed was because of the coaching staff,” Friar said. “It’s not just basketball with them. They really care about you off the court and about what you are going to do when you get done with school.”
UNT releases complete women’s hoops schedule
The UNT women’s basketball team will play its first game under new head coach Mike Petersen at home against Texas State on Nov. 12.
UNT’s home opener was one of the highlights of the Mean Green’s 2012-13 schedule that was released Tuesday.
UNT will play 13 home games and take on Arizona at the Super Pit on Nov. 28.
The Mean Green will take on regional rival SMU on the road in its second game of the season on Nov. 15.
UNT’s first conference game will be at home against Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 1.
“I like our nonconference schedule because it will be very challenging,” Petersen said. “By the time we get to the Sun Belt Conference games, we will be well-tested and should have a great idea about the strengths and weaknesses of our team.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .