North Texas hoops signs former Cincinnati center Kelvin Gaines

DENTON, Texas — North Texas head basketball coach Tony Benford has announced the signing of former Cincinnati center Kelvin Gaines to a scholarship.

The Ocala, Fla., native played in 39 games for the Bearcats over the last two years after taking a redshirt in 2010-11. Gaines will graduate from Cincinnati this summer, and is expected to be immediately eligible to play his final two seasons at North Texas.

“We are tremendously excited to have Kelvin Gaines joining the Mean Green family,” Benford said. “He brings a great deal of character, athleticism and toughness to our program. Kelvin comes from a great program in Cincinnati, which has put him through three years of Big East competition. He’s been to the NCAA Tournament, he understands how to work, and he can protect the rim for us. We have great shooters and great balance in our program right now, and Kelvin will really help us shore up the paint.”

Standing 6-foot-10, Gaines has been a potent defensive asset for the Bearcats. He tallied 39 blocks in just 276 career minutes for UC. As a redshirt freshman in 2011-12, Gaines ranked third on the team with 23 blocks, and he tallied 17 more last season.

With the offseason additions of Gaines and George Mason transfer Vertrail Vaughns, the Mean Green will have two graduates in its locker room for 2013-14.

“In my 20-plus years of coaching, I’ve never seen a kid that got his degree in three years and still has two years to play. That shows me that Kelvin has a great head on his shoulders and will be a tremendous mentor for our younger players.”

Gaines’ resume also includes international experience, as he toured Belgium, Germany and London as part of the Global Sports Academy team in 2011. He played a total of five games against international competition — two contests in Brussels, Belgium; and one each in Cologne, Germany; Dusseldorf, Germany; and Antwerp, Belgium — and averaged seven points and nine rebounds during the trip.

As a senior in 2009-10, Gaines transferred to Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, Fla., where he led the Apaches to the FHSAA Class 2A finals and a record of 21-6. He ultimately chose Cincinnati over offers from UCONN, Georgia, Memphis, Oklahoma and Miami (Fla.).

As a junior, Gaines averaged 10.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 6.2 blocks per game in 2008-09 playing for Heat Academy in Martinsville, Va. The Heat finished the season with a record of 50-8 and was ranked as high as No. 12 in the national prep school polls.

North Texas Basketball 2013-14 Recruiting Class
Kelvin Gaines – 6-10, 227, Jr., C, Ocala, Fla. (Cincinnati)
Vertrail Vaughns – 6-2, 184, Sr., G, Mesquite, Texas (George Mason)
Colin Voss – 6-7, 240, Jr., F, Grand Rapids, Mich. (Northern Oklahoma)
Armani Flannigan – 6-8, 200, Jr., F, Rockford, Ill. (Central Wyoming State)
Tony Nunn – 6-9, F/C, Salisbury, N.C. (Oldsmar Christian)
Josh Friar – 6-8, F, Houston, Texas (Kingwood HS)
Greg Wesley – 6-7, F, Arlington, Texas (Seguin HS)