North Texas was still waiting on word from the NCAA late this week on whether T.J. Taylor will be granted a waiver that would make him eligible this season.
Taylor began his career at Oklahoma, transferred to Paris Junior College and then spent a brief time at Marquette before the school granted him a release. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard landed at UNT, closer to his hometown of Denison, and has been with the Mean Green throughout the off-season.
First-year UNT head coach Tony Benford said the school does not know when the NCAA will rule on Taylor’s waiver request.
Taylor is also dealing with a shoulder injury that has kept him out of practice. Benford said UNT will know more about how the injury could impact Taylor’s status for the season in the next few days.
UNT will open the season at Creighton on Nov. 9.
Just about everything else has gone according to plan for UNT heading into the opening of practice Friday.
UNT is holding a series of workouts Benford has dubbed “boot camp” that are designed to prepare the Mean Green for the opening of practice and the season.
“It’s gone really well,” Benford said late this week. “Our guys are in better shape than I thought. We try to build our team and develop chemistry during boot camp. We teach about sacrifice and communicating. It has been beneficial. The guys have done better than other places I have been.”
Benford has served as an assistant coach at several other schools he said used the same boot-camp concept.
UNT will go through seven sessions in all. The team’s players are going through a series of defensive drills as well as extensive conditioning during the workouts.
Benford singled out Jacob Holmen as one of the players who has made an early impression.
“Jacob is doing a great job on and off the floor and is becoming a vocal leader,” Benford said.
Petersen likes early returns
New UNT women’s coach Mike Petersen has also been pleased with his team’s performance in the early stages of preseason practices.
UNT worked out for the first time Wednesday.
“I like where we are at,” Petersen said late this week. “After our first official practice I told the players it was as good a first day as I have had as a coach. Our focus was really good and so was our execution, considering it was the first time we had ever done it.”
Petersen will be UNT’s third coach in three seasons.
UNT’s players have experience when it comes to adjusting to new coaches and have fared well under Petersen, heading into their opener at home against Texas State on Nov. 12.
“The hard thing in a first year is getting everyone talking the same basketball vocabulary and getting all the principles in place,” Petersen said. “The first two days they have done a good job of understanding what we are teaching.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .