The TCU Horned Frogs basketball team is ranked #20 in the preseason polls. The Frogs are one spot behind Michigan and one spot ahead of UCLA. The season starts in just two weeks. TCU head basketball coach Jamie Dixon had a press conference on Tuesday. He provided some great insight on the team. He touched on a lot of subjects including the #20 ranking, Jaylen Fisher, NBA G League, Scott Cross, KaVontae Turpin and Kenrich Williams making it to the NBA. Here are the notes.
- Coach Dixon said its an exciting time for TCU basketball. They are ranked #20 in the preseason polls. He was told today that season tickets are sold out.
- He said the ranking is based on what they can become. They are not that right now. It means a lot to the fans and the program. It’s good for recruiting. The players know that there is work to be done, though. They have to get better.
Jaylen Fisher and Other Injuries
- Coach Dixon said that Jaylen Fisher is getting better. He has started to do some 5-on-0 transition drills the last few days. Jaylen will continue to do that. Lat Mayen is getting closer to being healthy too. The Frogs have had a number of guys out this fall and summer due to injuries. Those guys are all back. Lat and Jaylen are the only two who have been out the last week or so. There is no timetable for Jaylen’s return. Jaylen feels good. He has had a lot of injuries the last two years at TCU. They will see how it goes. Jaylen is a very hard worker.
- He said all the injuries have held them back a little bit, but it is what it is. Jaylen and Lat are coming along nicely.
- Coach Dixon said the Frogs have 12 practices left. They get 30 total and 12 are left. They have more work to do.
- Coach Dixon said they have five returning guys. They have eight new guys. That does not scream a ton of experience. Only three guys that are returning, are out on the floor right now. Lat and Jaylen are hurt.
- Coach Dixon said the Big 12 is the best league in the country. They are excited about the challenge.
- He said last year their weakness was on defense. They took a step backward defensively last year for some reason. They were better on offense. Their roster was built better for the offense. They need to figure out a way to get better on defense. They have gone with four shooters on the floor in the past and that hurts them on defense.
- Coach Dixon said their bigs are not the more physical, active defender, and shot blocker types. They are more skilled guys. They spread the floor out. The team is working on some things to address this defensive weakness.
- Coach Dixon said he has eight guys who have never played a college game. That brings a lot of challenges defensively. Their goal is to become the best defensive team in the league.
- He said replacing Kenrich Williams and Vlade Brodziansky will be huge. They knew it was coming.
- Coach Dixon was more concerned about replacing Vlade’s spot then Kenrich’s spot. Vlade played the five spot. Kevin Samuel has come along very nicely at the five spot. Samuel has made huge strides in the last few weeks. He has been hurt but he is better now.
- Coach Dixon and Coach Cross have been talking to JD Miller. Miller is going to be a great defender and rebounder for TCU. Dixon is not sure JD wants to play that role, but that’s what they need from him. Every kid wants to be the leading scorer. Everybody wants to play the perimeter and shoot the three. There is that opportunity for JD, but he is built to be a great defender. Dixon challenges JD to be the best defender. JD is built that way physically. He has the wingspan, athleticism and size to be a great defender. His conditioning needs to get better. JD needs to stay healthy. He is a little banged up. JD is all in and has come a long way. When Dixon first came to TCU, he wasn’t sure JD was going to make it. JD had some academic issues. They stuck with him. He is one of Dixon’s favorite guys now. They need more out of him. JD has energy and he is a great teammate.
NBA G League
- Coach Dixon was asked about the NBA’s new official minor league organization, the NBA G League. He said he is not sure how the G League is going to play out. It’s an interesting thing. The NBA is doing this for the NBA. It’s being done to help the G League and the NBA. They want to get exposure. He said that every kid will say that college basketball is better than the G League. The college basketball experience is a better experience.
- Coach Dixon said the biggest concern with the G League is how many kids are going to think they are going to the G League and then not take advantage of the academic opportunity in high school. The one and done rule at least forced kids to have to get good enough grades to get into college. The kids had to focus on their high school academics.
- Coach Dixon was asked about adding former UTA head basketball coach, Scott Cross, to his staff. He said Scott is great. He didn’t bring him on because he was a former head coach. That didn’t even cross his mind. With everything going on in college sports, he wanted a high character guy and a basketball guy. There are some things going on in college basketball. It was important to get a high character guy. He liked that the move to TCU from UTA would be good for his family. Scott is a big family guy. He knew Scott, but he wasn’t close friends with him or anything like that. He didn’t rush the decision to hire Scott. He got to know him over several days. He talked to other coaches too. He decided Scott was the right choice. He has not heard a bad thing about him through all the years he’s coached.
- Coach Dixon said the biggest challenge with Scott is the terminology is different. Sometimes he and Scott are speaking foreign languages to each other. Scott is locked into his ways and Dixon and TCU have their ways. They are still working on it.
- He was surprised that Scott was let go by UTA, but that happens all the time. New people come in and want their own guys.
- Coach Dixon was asked about Coach Patterson and the KaVontae Turpin situation. Dixon said that it’s devastating. It’s hard in a lot of ways. It’s more devastating for some coaches than others. Dixon doesn’t know all the details. He was on the road recruiting and just found out about it this morning. He has talked to Gary. He knows who Gary is and Gary is all about character, doing the right things and protecting the university. Gary has been through these things before and he always makes the right decision. He does the right things and that’s why he has been so successful. This is just a short-term blip.
- Coach Dixon was asked what it means to have Kenrich Williams make it to the NBA. He said Kenrich Williams is a great story for TCU basketball. Getting a guy to the NBA is a big thing. They want to be a program that develops players. Guys need to get better by going to TCU. They have a great recruiting class coming in. He can’t talk about that right now, but they tell these recruits about the players they develop. The recruits will get better by going to TCU. The best example is looking at Kenrich, looking at Vlade Brodziansky. Both of these guys had no division one offers. They both became All-Big 12 players at TCU. Kenrich is in the NBA now. Vlade is doing really well in the Super League, the second-best professional league in the world. They have both come a long way in a short amount of time. Its a great thing for TCU. He loved seeing Kenrich up on the Riff Ram video at the football game. He wouldn’t be surprised if Vlade is on an NBA team soon.
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