Leading up to the season Heartland College Sports will analyze each of the Big 12 men’s basketball teams. Today it’s the TCU Horned Frogs.
2017-18 Record: 21-12 (9-2 Big 12)
NCAA: lost to Syracuse, 57-52 (round of 64).
Top returning 2017-18 leaders: G Jaylen Fisher, 6-foot-2 (12.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 91 assists), G Desmond Bane, 6-foot-5 (12.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, team-leading 46.1 percent from 3-point line), F Kouat Noi, 6-foot-7 (10.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg), F JD Miller, 6-foot-8 (7.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg), G Alex Robinson, 6-foot-1 (9.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, team-leading 190 assists).
Players lost: F Vladimir Brodziansky (15.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg), G Dalton Dry (1.4 ppg), Ahmed Hamdy (5.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg), F Clayton Crawford (six games played, no points), G Kenrich Williams (13.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 124 assists), F Austin Sottile (two games played, no points).
Recruits signed: SF Kaden Archie, 6-foot-6, Midlothian, Texas; PG Kenrdric Davis, 5-foot-11, Houston, Texas (Sam Houston HS); C Russell Barlow, 6-foot-9, Richardson, Texas (Berkner HS); C Yuat Alok, 6-foot-10, Marianna, Fla. (Chipola College); G Dylan Arnette, 6-foot-3, DeSoto, Texas (Carter HS).
Transfers eligible for 2018-19 season: None
Transfers expected to sit out in 2018-19: None
Looking ahead to 2018-19: Thanks to a veteran starting lineup, head coach Jamie Dixon was able to redshirt most of his 2017 recruiting class, which means he has a deep roster heading into 2018-19 — and that was before a five-player 2018 class that includes a pair of 247Sports.com four-star recruits and the nation’s top juco recruit in Alok. With Fisher, Bane, Noi, Miller and Robinson all returning — and all started at some point last season — Dixon only needs to fill in the blanks. The caveat is that Fisher is still working his way back from injury and may not be full speed right away (though Dixon admitted that, at least in practice, it’s hard to see the difference in Fisher’s play on-court). Alok gives him depth on the frontline. G RJ Nembhard was a Top 15 player in Texas who played little last year and was redshirted, and he fits the guard mold that Dixon likes. F Kevin Samuel and F Lat Mayen, both redshirts, should be prepared to fill in on the frontline, too. Dixon has a team that should have 10 players ready to play come Big 12 action. Now, losing Brodziansky, Hamdy and Williams hurts. Williams was one of the league’s most versatile players — he could play four positions — and right now the Frogs don’t have a player that fits that mold (Dixon thinks he has a few players that can grow into those various roles Williams handled last year). Brodziansky provided some of the best pick-and-roll action in the league last season. Hamdy did much of the dirty work. So who fills those roles? Those are Dixon’s biggest question marks. The good news he has anywhere from 10-12 options to sort through until league action and enough opportunities to play master chemist and get the Horned Frogs into a solid rotation for the league opener against Baylor.
Media Day quote: “We have a relatively young group with five returning guys that have played a lot of minutes, scored a lot of points and done a lot of things. But the other eight are brand new, haven’t played any college basketball.” — TCU head coach Jamie Dixon