Apr 25, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorUniversity of North Texas men's basketball coach Tony Benford is confident Central Wyoming College sophomore Armani Flannigan won't have any trouble fitting into his Division I program.
The 6-foot-8 CWC forward signed a national letter of intent to play for North Texas on Wednesday afternoon.
Flannigan visited the campus in Denton, Texas, Friday and Saturday and his final decision when he returned to Riverton.
"The coaching staff has been recruiting me for awhile now," Flannigan said. "I built up a pretty good relationship with the coaching staff. When I went on my visit they just welcomed me with open arms. It just felt like the right fit."
Benford said Flannigan's size will come in handy next season.
"We have heard a lot of great things about Armani," Benford said. "We have lost two of our best inside players. We need some athleticism and some toughness from someone who can come in and play right away. We just felt like he would be a great fit for us. He has to get a little bigger and stronger, but the way that he plays, with his energy, translates into any level."
Flannigan said former CWC assistant coach Craig Doty was instrumental in bringing him to the Riverton campus.
Flannigan grew up in Rockford, Ill. He attended Boylan High School where he scored 17.8 points per game in his senior season
"Coach Doty and my high school coach built a good relationship," Flannigan said. "Coach Doty had my back since day one."
Flannigan averaged 13 points per game, 6.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his freshman season.
"It was a very good experience to come to CWC," Flannigan said. "I think that I did pretty good in my first year. It just felt right. I decided to stay and just ride it out."
The forward made a huge impact in his sophomore season playing under CWC coach Shelby Lindley.
"I can't thank coach Lindley enough," Flannigan said. "He has been pushing me for greatness and to do the best that I can. He really cares about his players. That just helps our relationship a lot more."
Flannigan finished the season averaging 14.2 points per game, and pulling in 6.6 rebounds.
"I personally felt that I had a really good season," Flannigan said. "I really didn't average that much because we had such a good team. If I was double-teamed I was able to hit anybody open for a good shot."
Lindley said he expects CWC to have a few more players sign to play Division I or Division II basketball in the next month or two.
"I think that it's a neat thing for our school, athletic department, and our men's basketball program," Lindley said. "Our goal at CWC is to get our kids where they want to go."
Sun Belt team
North Texas finished the past season with a 12-20 mark in the Sun Belt Conference.
North Texas lost to Louisiana-Lafayette 74-55 in the opening round of the conference tournament.
It was Benford's first season at the helm at North Texas.
"We had a lot of injuries that hurt us," Benford said.
North Texas is making the move to Conference USA for the 2013-14 season.
UTEP and Tulsa are two top teams in Conference USA.
"It's really a competitive league," Benford said. "I think that Armani has a good chance to be a really good player in the league."
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