[Congressional Record Volume 169, Number 61 (Monday, April 10, 2023)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E300]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                        HON. MICHAEL C. BURGESS

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                         Monday, April 10, 2023

  Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the University of 
North Texas Men's Basketball team for winning the 2023 National 
Invitational Tournament. Starting in 1916, the UNT Mean Green have a 
rich history. However, this year's accomplishment on the court is 
arguably the most exciting and meaningful.
  On March 30, 2023, led by Coach Grant McCasland, the team completed 
their remarkable 31-7 season with the school's first ever NIT 
Tournament Championship. In doing so, the Mean Green successfully 
battled through five successive games, starting with dominating wins 
over Alcorn State and Sam Houston. They then advanced to the tournament 
semifinals with a chilling overtime win over Oklahoma State. The team 
then showed its grit to hold Wisconsin scoreless for over nine minutes 
in closing-out a final-four victory for the chance to redeem a 
Conference USA Tournament loss to the University of Alabama-Birmingham. 
They completed the run with a 68 to 61 NIT Championship game victory.
  Led by NIT Most Outstanding Tournament Player Tylor Perry, Kai 
Huntsberry and Aaron Scott stepped-up to record double-digits as UAB 
unsuccessfully struggled to limit Perry on the court during the 
championship. Rubin Jones stepped-up with scoring and rebounds at 
critical points throughout the tournament, complimenting Moulaye 
Sissoko's domination of the backboard in each game and highlighted with 
his double-double in the victory over Wisconsin. A team accomplishment, 
the postseason opportunity and victory could not have happened without 
critical individual contributions throughout the season from Abou 
Ousmane, Jayden Martinez, Matthew Stone, Tyree Eady, Rasheed Browne, 
Christian Moore, Grayson Allo, Chris Morgan and Arsh Mattu.
  The historic NIT Tournament Championship victory underscored the 
original strength of UNT's Conference USA schedule and set a new 
standard at a critical time for UNT's national profile. UNT became one 
of four C-USA teams setting national notice by either winning, or 
competing in at least the final four of the three major post-season 
college tournaments, as a final benchmark before moving up to join the 
American Athletic Conference this Fall.
  The accomplishment is bittersweet, as it also marks the last game 
that Coach McCasland will be at the helm of the squad. UNT's President 
Dr. Neal Smatresk extended his sincerest thanks and best wishes to 
Coach McCasland and his family, recognizing that he `` . . . has been a 
great mentor and leader for the student athletes on our men's 
basketball teams for six seasons, and he has taken our program to great 
successes including this national championship run in the NIT.'' 
However, a strong foundation has already been set for the next stage, 
with longtime Assistant Coach Ross Hodge announced as the team's new 
head coach, ensuring that opponents in the new AAC can expect no relief 
from the suffocating defense experienced throughout the season by UNT's 
  I join Dr. Smatresk, the returning team members, the UNT student body 
and Alumni in looking forward to the next exciting accomplishment to 
come. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the 2022-2023 North 
Texas Men's Basketball coaches and team for representing their school 
and community so well. Best wishes to the team's seniors as they 
graduate, and we look forward to another opportunity to celebrate the 
next exciting year and championship.