UNT RECRUIT ART

North Texas picked up a commitment from Oklahoma wing Matthew Stone on Tuesday.

Matthew Stone was always curious about North Texas when he drove past the school on his way from Oklahoma to Dallas to play in summer tournaments.

The small forward from Kingfisher (Oklahoma) High got a chance to learn more about the school over the last few months when UNT began recruiting him.

The more the 6-foot-4 senior learned, the more convinced he became that UNT was where he wanted to continue his career.

Stone announced his commitment to UNT on Tuesday night at his high school and spoke about his decision a short time later.

“North Texas was the best fit for me with the staff and the players,” Stone said. “It felt like the right fit. The coaches showed confidence in me. I want to give that back.”

Stone averaged 17.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game last season when he led his team to the Class 4A state title.

The Daily Oklahoman named Stone to its Little All-City team last season, when he was also a Class 4A all-state selection. He is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com.

A host of nationally prominent programs offered Stone a scholarship, including Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Tulsa and Belmont.

Stone chose to pass on those offers to join a UNT program on the rise under Grant McCasland. The Mean Green won the College Basketball Invitational title at the end of the 2017-18 season and the Conference USA regular season title earlier this year.

The Mean Green were the favorite heading into the C-USA tournament, which was wiped out by the COIVD-19 pandemic.

That run of success convinced Stone that UNT is where he wants to continue his career. UNT assistant coach Matt Braeuer played a key role in recruiting Stone.

“I am very excited because of North Texas’ history,” Stone said. “Mac has been there for three years and won the conference last year. It felt right. We talked about doing that again. We are going to try to win the NCAA tournament and win a national title. That will be my goal the first time I step on campus.”

Stone is the first player in the Class of 2021 to commit to UNT. He recently visited campus with his parents and drove through Denton four times. The small-town feel of the city made him feel comfortable with the idea of spending four years in Denton.

UNT will have a host of senior guards on its roster this season. Point guard Javion Hamlet and shooting guard James Reese will both be in their final seasons with the Mean Green this fall.

Stone could help fill the void those players will leave after they graduate. UNT’s coaches plan to play Stone on the wing.

“I will fit pretty well with them,” Stone said. “The coaches gave me confidence that I can come in and develop my game.”

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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