FORT WORTH, Texas - There are at least two reasons to think TCU basketball may one day be relevant - Baylor and Miami. They are small, private schools with programs that have enjoyed large success in major conferences.
This can happen.
On Wednesday afternoon, TCU formally announced it is in the basketball business by rolling out plans for an updated, and badly needed, overhaul to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. When this ambitious project is complete there will be no more excuses to suck.
This is the first sign in maybe the history of the program that the school is done half-a$$ing men's basketball.
For years the previous coaches of this ignored program harped on adiminstrators to update a building that had been mostly ignored since it opened in 1961. TCU director of athletics Chris Del Conte candidly admitted that his athletic department had not given the respective basketball programs the chance to be successful; it had never made the type of necessary financial commitment to compete for quality recruits.
Why the sudden interest in basketball? Money.
Del Conte needs basketball to generate revenue. Maybe not to be profitable, but to contribute to the cash flow. These types of investments will increase TCU's chances of creating more money for the athletic department.
On the same day Del Conte announced plans for an approximately $50 million renovation to the home arena, TCU head coach Trent Johnson announced the greatest recruiting class in this program's history.
Landing center Karviar Shepherd (pictured) out of Dallas was the key lucky strike Johnson needed to have a shot to win by Year 3 of Trent's tenure. Shepherd is the best high school signee for this program since Billy Tubbs signed Damion Walker out of Dallas (of note - the best player this program ever signed was juco product Lee Nailon).
The other guys Johnson signed, most notably Brandon Parrish, will help. Johnson's class is freshman heavy, which means this is going to need another year. But Johnson at least has Big 12 caliber players now in Shepherd, Parrish, and returnees Amric Fiels and Kyan Anderson.
Turning TCU into a relevant program that can contend for an NCAA bid is two or three years away. Wednesday marked for the first time in history that TCU is taking basketball seriously, and actually wants to do the necessary things to make the tournament.
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