North Texas’ rise in men’s basketball the last few years was paved in large part by Javion Hamlet, a junior college point guard who was named the MVP of the Conference USA tournament last season.
The Mean Green are poised to head down that same road again with Tylor Perry, another junior college guard who had quite a postseason tournament of his own over the last few days.
Perry guided Coffeyvillle (Kansas) Community College on a five-game run through the National Junior College Athletics Association national tournament and was named the event’s MVP. The 5-foot-11 point guard scored 18 points and handed out seven assists in Coffeyville’s 108-99 win over Cowley County in the title game.
Perry averaged 16.2 points in five tournament games.
“It was a blessing to be put in that position to win a national championship,” Perry said in an interview with the Denton Record-Chronicle on Monday night. “Not everyone experiences that. To be able to have that feeling with my teammates was a blessing.”
The experience is one that could help Perry next season when he will be a key part of UNT’s plans to reload after winning the C-USA tournament. The Mean Green lost several of their key players, including Hamlet, who declared for the NBA draft.
Perry will have a chance to compete for a starting job. UNT returns just two starters in shooting guard Mardrez McBride and forward Thomas Bell.
“The experience of playing in the national tournament most definitely prepared me to move on to the Division I level,” Perry said. “There are 24 teams in that tournament, and we played some of the top ones. I saw competition that is as good as what I will see in Conference USA and our nonconference schedule. It showed me what it’s like to win. I want to experience that again.”
UNT coach Grant McCasland has been in contact with Perry since his team won the national title.
“He congratulated me and told me I am a winner,” Perry said. “He told me that he saw that I struggled shooting a little bit, but said that winners find a way to win, and I did that. I really appreciated that.”
Perry said he is excited about the players UNT has returning as well as the recruits the Mean Green have coming in next year. The Mean Green added three high school/prep school players during the early signing period in forwards Aaron Scott and Chrisdon Morgan as well as shooting guard Matthew Stone.
UNT is expected to add to its class in the next few weeks.
“I’m excited about next season with who they have returning and who they are trying to bring in,” Perry said. “They have a foundation that is working. I’m glad to be a part of something special and to have the opportunity to bring a third straight conference championship to North Texas.
“Anyone they bring in will be prepared. They choose high character guys and high-level players.”
Perry will join them when he arrives at UNT on June 15.
“It was a blessing to be named MVP,” Perry said. “I was written off in high school and my first year in JUCO. People are starting to appreciate me. I’m finally getting my flowers. I want to thank God for that.”
UNT honors top athletes at Scrappys
UNT honored a host of athletes and teams on Monday during the Scrappys, the school’s annual awards show.
The virtual event highlighted a number of the top moments of the year, including the men’s basketball team’s win over Purdue in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. UNT had not won an NCAA tournament game before its upset win over the Boilermakers.
Hope Trautwein received the Individual Moment of the Year award. The senior pitcher struck out all 21 batters she faced in a perfect game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. It was the first known 21 strikeout perfect game in Division I softball history.
Hamlet was named the Male Student-Athlete of the Year after guiding the men’s basketball team to the C-USA tournament title and its NCAA tournament win, while Trautwein was named the Female Student-Athlete of the Year.
UNT to host UTSA in final home softball series
UNT will close out its home schedule this week in a four-game series against UTSA at Lovelace Stadium.
The Mean Green will take on the Roadrunners at 6 p.m. on Friday before the teams play a noon doubleheader on Saturday. The series will conclude with a noon game on Sunday.
UNT (29-10) heads into the weekend atop the C-USA West Division standings at 10-2. UAB is in second place at 12-4.
The Mean Green swept Southern Miss in a four-game series last week to run their winning streak in conference play to 10 games.
UTSA (11-25) is 5-7 in league play.
UNT will hold its Senior Day festivities before Sunday’s game.
Trautwein named C-USA Pitcher of the Week
Trautwein was named C-USA’s Pitcher of the Week for the third time this season on Monday.
Trautwein allowed two earned runs while striking out 21 batters in 13 innings in UNT’s series sweep of Southern Miss.