Our neighborhood’s brand-new basketball team is getting a high-profile coach.

Former Dallas Mavericks player Josh Howard will coach the University of North Texas at Dallas Trailblazers men’s basketball team.

Howard was the Mavs’ first-round draft pick in 2003, and  he retired from the NBA in 2014. He previously was head coach at Piedmont International University in North Carolina.

The Oak Cliff university announced in January that a student vote approved an athletics program that includes men’s and women’s basketball, cross country and track.

The basketball teams are scheduled to compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics league this coming fall.

“Coming back to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has been great for my family,” Howard stated in a media release. “My goal at UNT Dallas is to be a great leader for the players, staff, the university and the community. I wanted to become the first men’s basketball coach at UNT Dallas to help young men get an affordable college education and also play the game they love.”

The University hired former Plano Senior High School girls basketball coach Rodney Belcher to coach the Trailblazers’ women’s team.  Belcher led the Plano team to win the 6A state championship in 2018.

“I could not pass up an opportunity to have an impact and help to change the lives of young people in a positive way,” Belcher stated in a release. “I am looking forward to beginning the recruiting process and building a women’s basketball program that will represent UNT Dallas, our fans and our community with class, character and hard work.”