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02/12/2014

TCU basketball: The struggle continues

IMG_3482FORT WORTH, Texas - While SMU is ranked No. 23 with its second-year head coach in Larry Brown, and is in its refurbished building, TCU continues to struggle with its second-year head coach, Trent Johnson.

As expected, Brown's name helped him land some stellar recruits, such as McDonald's All-American Keith Frazier last season and most recently Prime Prep's Emmanuel Mudiay, who will attend next season. It helps, too, that SMU plays in the American Athletic Conference, which ain't the Big 12. Make no mistake - SMU would be miles ahead of TCU regardless of conference affiliation.

Trent Johnson has landed quality recruits, most notably freshman Karviar Shepherd, but TCU is a minimum of two years away from being able to make a  dent in this conference. Johnson deserves  more patience, but so far the results have been just about as painful as expected when a school not known for basketball jumped into a brutal basketball league.

The first picture was a few minutes into a game that TCU tried to pack the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Wednesday night - a 91-58 loss against Baylor. At this point, it is hard not to feel bad for everyone involved in this program, from the players to the coaches and support staff. In its second season in the Big 12, TCU is 9-14, and 0-11 in the Big 12. 

1cFHCo.St.58The Frogs are actually worse than its first season in the conference, when they pulled upsets against Kansas and Oklahoma. But that team had the benefit of a few seniors, whereas this team is thin, small and young.

This current team has not been healthy, or lucky. They are playing with only eight scholarship players, and a strong case can be made not all of these players are Big 12 caliber. Guard Charles Hill Jr. has been "sidelined" with academic problems. Injuries to Devonta Abron and Aaron Durley knocked out two bodies. Transfers Chris Washburn and Trey Ziegler are not eligible.

And despite the hype surrounding the arrival of Hudson Price, Shepherd and Brandon Parrish, they're raw, skinny, freshmen. They're not Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle or Tyler Ennis.

Not helping things is the reality that the team will not play on campus next season as Daniel-Meyer Coliseum is scheduled to be re-modeled; the Frogs will play in the Fort Worth Convention Center, or - according to the Star-Telegram's Stefan Stevenson, the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center (a high school gym). If people weren't going to the home games now, they will definitely not be going next season.

TCU is one of the most difficult jobs in the nation. The program has been to two NCAA tournaments since 1987; this will be its 10th losing season in the last 12 years.

Johnson has a few pieces who can play, but he needs a lot more, and likely a special one, to have a real shot. Because diretor of athletics Chris Del Conte hired Johnson, he will be given every opportunity to prove he can do this. It's going to take more time, and a few more losses.

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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Comments

The Reality

Rather be in Big 12 than the AAC. SMU if in Big 12 would be looking at 10th place over only TT and TCU and they would have no hype. This article is right though, sad to say. Injuries and athletes having to wait to play has made TCU have to play the end of the bench players who are not going to beat Big 12 starters.

Lucky for TCU, basketball plays only five. Rosters are not like football rosters. One player could take you to the tournament and change fortunes in conference play very quickly. When TCU went to it's last tournament in 1998 (SMU hasn't been since 1993) Lee Nailon was that one person. Also lucky for TCU Johnson is a really good coach. If he had a name like Larry Brown he could use his name over the reputation of the program that the other coaches before him buried like what is happening at SMU. But he doesn't so it's just going to have to be a slow process or finding that one talent. But TCU will get there. The best coaches, administrators, fans are at TCU and the basketball team will be good sooner than you think and then the bandwagon rush will follow.

"The" OSU

I like what I am seeing on the court in terms of effort. The kids know they are outmanned, but they are playing tough against better and much, much deeper teams. There was a near-brawl in the Kansas game, which began as a fight for a loose ball on the floor. I just hope they can keep fighting tough until the cavalry arrives. If they do, the group that are freshmen now, can have a couple of really special seasons after next year.

James

What a great addition the TCU athletic program has been to the Big 12 ! NOT !!

The Reality

Big 12 knew bringing in TCU about TCU's basketball. They also know that basketball fortunes can change in one season no matter how bad a team is the previous season. One player in basketball can change a team. The players coming in TCU and coming back from injury are good players, Big 12 caliber. TCU is a great university, they have a great brand, in a great location, they will be fine.

g. trevino

hey mac, don't forget and do some fact finding before you start writing your blog.
the frogs have five guy's on the bench that are either hurt or sitting out transfer rules. one is lost for the year to academics. unfortunately three on the bench are big men that we need inside to help with rebounding. two were hurt before the season started. we've been snake bit.
if all of those players were in the line up right now i bet it would be a different story. coach johnson has done a hell of a job considering the circumstances. so don't go and try and play your stupid tcu doesn't belong in the big 12 crap. your either so misinformed or just have a vendetta against tcu athletics. i'm curious what you will write next year when we're kicking ass. i'm sure you think of something negative to say.

James

Every team has injuries. TCU had years to prepare for a move to a power conference and so far they have failed in the Big 12.

Pheadrus

You guys are delusional. He is a terrible coach with no personality. He has under preformed as a coach for years. At Stanford he was lucky because the Twins mother wanted them at Stanford since birth. LSU had good recruiting classes and totally under preformed. Larry Brown came out of retirement and has already turned SMU around. Plus he has never lost to TCU. You have not won 1 game this season after a soft pre-conference schedule (WSU and MS St. are terrible as well but at least they won one conference game). As for the American Conference TCU would be on the level of Rutgers maybe. You are claiming some of these transfers will make a difference. The culture is already established. The fact that you guys support an 0-14 conference record is pretty sad. If you accept this standard it will be interesting to see when you win your first conference game. Wait till next year gets old. Why would anyone want to sign up for apathy 2-31 in 2 years? 2-31! I knew this year that TCU might go defeated this season because that is Johnson pattern, a decline every season . I feel for the kids on the team. Plus there are some kids that can actually play when given a chance. He stays with the same rotation. Johnson change it up damn its not like you are winning. Change can be a good thing. O wait I almost forgot we are talking about TCU. lol. Trey why on earth did you go to TCU?

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