Leading up to the opening of the 2019-20 Big 12 Men’s basketball season Heartland College Sports will analyze each of the Big 12 men’s basketball teams. Today it’s the TCU Horned Frogs.
2018-19 Record: 23-14 (7-11 Big 12)
NIT: def. Sam Houston State, 82-69 (first round); def. Nebraska, 88-72 (round of 16); def. Creighton, 71-58 (round of 8); lost to Texas, 58-44 (NIT Final Four).
Top returning 2018-19 leaders: G Desmond Bane (15.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 42.5 percent from 3), , F Kevin Samuel (7.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg), RJ Nembhard (4.4 ppg).
2018 seniors/lettermen lost: F JD Miller (10.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg), G Alex Robinson (12.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 6.9 apg); F Kouat Noi (13.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg), G Kendric Davis (6.3 ppg, 2.0 apg). The Horned Frogs saw five players submit their names to the transfer portal — C Yuat Alok (transferred to UCF), F Kaden Archie, G Jaylen Fisher, F Angus McWilliam (transferred to UC Riverside), and G Shawn Olden (transferred to Texas Southern).
Recruits signed: G P.J. Fuller, 6-foot-4, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.); G Francisco Farabello, 6-1, NBA Global Academy (Australia); Diante Smith, 6-6, Choctawhatchee Senior High (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.), G Taryn Todd, 6-foot-2, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.); Mickey Pearson, F, 6-foot-7, Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Va.). Fuller is the centerpiece of a class that is going to have opportunities to play right away. Fuller was a Top 100 recruit, according to 247Sports.com. Both head coach Jamie Dixon and Bane mentioned Farabello as the potential starting point guard. Smith, according to Dixon, has been the most surprising newcomer in camp.
Transfers eligible for 2019-20 season: G Edric Dennis, 6-foot (UT-Arlington), G Jaire Grayer, 6-foot-5 (George Mason). Dennis is a graduate transfer from UT-Arlington, which is just 10 miles from TCU. With the Mavericks last season Dennis scored 14.3 points per game and averaged 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists while starting in 19 games. Grayer, also a graduate transfer, scored at least 11 points in each of the last two seasons with the Patriots.
Transfers expected to sit out in 2019-20: F Kevin Easley, 6-foot-6 (Chattanooga); F Jaedon LeDee, 6-foot-7 (Ohio State). Easley was the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year while at Chattanooga. He led the Mocs in scoring at 14.2 points per game while also averaging 6.7 rebounds and shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from 3-point range. It’s a shame he has to sit out year from TCU’s perspective. LeDee played in 26 games for Ohio State last season.
Looking ahead to 2019-20: Turnover is one thing. What TCU is experienced last season is insane. Not only did TCU lose three starters — including Robinson, one of the best passers in the country — but a half-dozen players entered the transfer portal either during last season or after its conclusion. The result is a roster that it going to be the Big 12’s ultimate work in progress. Bane is one of the conference’s most talented offensive players. Samuel should turn into a double-double machine. After that? Well, there is Nembhard, who should find a more substantial role as a sophomore. After that there are 11 freshmen or redshirt freshmen on the roster, along with grad transfers that can play immediately. There are also a couple of other holdovers from last year, Dylan Arnette and Russell Barlow, who barely played a year ago. How Dixon fashions together an eight- or nine-player rotation will be interesting to watch. Some of these true freshman are going to have to play right away. Fuller, Smith and Farabello are the most likely options. TCU will have to lean heavily on Bane and Samuel until the rest of this rotation rounds into form.
Media Day quote: “I’ve embraced it. We’re going to have transfers. When you make it easier, the rules, the grad transfers, the waivers, it’s got everybody talking about every kid transfers thinking they’re going to be eligible right away. That’s how guys are being recruited, kids are being moved. AAU guys, you’ll be eligible right away.” — TCU head coach Jamie Dixon on transfers.
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