Bryce Zephir was prepared to give playing at the junior college level a second shot just a few weeks ago when a trip to a summer camp changed the course of his college career.
Zephir played his freshman season at Chipola College in Florida, left the team and was headed to play for San Bernardino Valley College in California.
An appearance at the All-America JUCO Showcase in Atlanta gave the 6-foot-4 guard an opportunity to display his skills in front of a host of college coaches. Zephir capitalized on the opportunity and became a late addition to North Texas’ 2021 recruiting class over the weekend.
“The North Texas coaches were on me the longest,” Zephir said. “I felt a connection with the coaching staff. It’s a place I can really see myself playing.”
Zephir was a top player in Santa Monica, his California hometown, but didn’t have many options coming out of high school because he stood just 5-foot-5. He spent a year at Grand River, a prep school.
The move paid off for Zephir when he went through a growth spurt. He attracted interest from a few Division I schools but ended up at Chipola due to academic issues.
Zephir averaged 6.1 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game for a team that advanced to the semifinals of the NJCAA national tournament. Chipola was ousted from the national tournament by Coffeyville Community College, which was led by UNT signee Tylor Perry.
Zephir could have returned to Chipola for another year but elected to leave the program.
“It didn’t work out for me, even though we had a good team,” Zephir said.
UNT has been recruiting Zephir for more than a year. The Mean Green’s staff was convinced he would be a fit for their program after seeing him compete at the JUCO top 100 camp.
“They told me they needed a big guard who can pass, shoot and make plays,” Zephir said. “They see me being a versatile player who can play and guard multiple positions”
UNT is coming off the best season in program history, highlighted by its first NCAA tournament win, a first-round upset of Purdue. The Mean Green lost three starters from their team, including point guard Javion Hamlet and shooting guard James Reese.
Zephir could help fill the void in UNT’s backcourt and help the Mean Green continue their run of success under coach Grant McCasland. UNT has won Conference USA titles in consecutive seasons.
Zephir will have four years of eligibility remaining at UNT after the NCAA granted winter sports athletes an additional year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m excited about joining a team that has won a lot of games,” Zephir said. “I want to be a winner in college. It will be great to help a team win.”