IRVING — The defending 2018 College Basketball invitational champion North Texas basketball team was picked fourth in the Conference USA Men's Basketball Preseason Poll and junior guard Roosevelt Smart
was selected to the C-USA Preseason All-Conference Team. Both the poll and all-conference team are voted by the league's coaches.
"It's a great honor but we still have a lot to prove and we're extremely excited for this season and for building off how we ended last year," said second-year head coach Grant McCasland
. "After winning the CBI, there are expectations for each other to operate at a championship level and it's not just us coaches who have those expectations, it's the players too."
In McCasland's first year, the Mean Green finished with a 20-18 record and had a 12-win improvement, the fifth-best in the nation. Numerous program records were broken on the way to winning the the CBI and no one set more individual program records last season than Smart.
The Chicago, Illinois, native who was second-team all-conference at the end of last season, scored a program-record 742 points (19.5 per game) in 2017-18 and made a program-record 133 3-pointers, beating the previous record by 43 3-pointers. He was named the CBI Tournament MVP after averaging 23 points per game in the tournament and sinking a CBI record 22 3-pointers in the tournament.
"We love having Roosevelt representing our team on the all-conference team," McCasland said. "He practices really hard, the team means a lot to him and has been instrumental in building our culture."
Of all returning C-USA players, Smart's 19.5 points per game average is the third-best and his 742 total points is the seventh-best in the nation for all returning players.
"It's a tremendous honor and I'm thankful for the recognition," Smart said. "My primary goal and our team's goal is to win a conference championship, make the NCAA Tournament and win it all and we all know if we focus on winning as a team the individual accolades will come."
The fourth-place pick is seven spots higher than where the Mean Green were picked in last season's preseason poll. No other school in C-USA made that large of a jump.
"We're ready to get back on the court and prove ourselves," McCasland said. "We haven't done anything this season. So we're excited for Nov. 6."
The Mean Green begin the 2018-19 campaign on Nov. 6 at home versus Angelo State at 7:00 p.m.
2018-19 MBB Preseason Poll
1. WKU (9)
2. Marshall (5)
3. Old Dominion
4. North Texas
6. Louisiana Tech
7. Southern Miss
9. Middle Tennessee
12. Florida Atlantic
2018-19 MBB Preseason Team
Jon Davis, Charlotte
Daquan Bracey, Louisiana Tech
Jon Elmore, Marshall
C.J. Burks, Marshall
Roosevelt Smart, North Texas
Ahmad Caver, Old Dominion
B.J. Stith, Old Dominion
Zack Bryant, UAB
Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA
Taveion Hollingsworth, WKU
Desean Murray, WKU