Fort Worth, Texas
Jamie Dixon may have the most stable roster in the country, a major turnaround for the TCU program that underwent several overhauls before hitting its highest pre-season ranking this fall.
The 14th-ranked Horned Frogs, along with 12th Big 12 player of the year Mike Miles Jr., returned all five starters and five other players for scholarships. They racked up consecutive wins on the Top 10 late last season to cement a place in the NCAA Championship, then missed out on the Sweet 16 after losing overtime to Arizona.
This is Dixon’s seventh season at his alma mater, which prior to last March had not won an NCAA championship game since 1987, when he was a senior guard for the Frogs.
“I know people thought I was crazy when I talked about expectations when I first got here,” Dixon said.
Immediately, The Frogs had three consecutive 20-time winning seasons and held their first NCAA Championship in two decades. But there were many questions when they later backed off.
Their record 16-16 in 2019-20 was the first time Dixon didn’t have a winning record – he was in Pittsburgh from 2003 to 2016 before he went to UCLA. There were seven newcomers the following season, when the Frogs were aged 12-14 before a more overhaul as Dixon embraced the transfer gate.
Eight transfers were added before last season, although early injuries slowed their progress. All but one of them returned, and the only newcomers were Oklahoma State transfer guard Rondell Walker and junior position PJ Haggerty.
“I saw a team getting better and better,” said Dixon, who praised the benefits summer training coaches can now have with their teams… We’ve made great strides. “Everyone got better, because most of them were there almost the whole time.”
lead the way
Miles, a petite 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 15.4 points and 3.8 assists last season. He and 6-11 Center Eddie Lampkin Jr., both Texas kids who joined the program prior to the 2020-21 season, are the only scholarship players other than Hagerti who started their college career at UCLA.
Former Memphis transfer guard Damion Baugh (10.6 ppg) and former Texas A&M forward Emmanuel Miller (10.3 ppg) were the other Frogs who posted a double-digit average last season. Miller and Lampkin led the Frogs, scoring 6.2 rebounds per game.
“We know the reward will come from the work we put in,” Miller said. “We compete at a high level in practice so we know what we are capable of.”
Fourteenth nationally, fourth in the adult 12
Three other top 12 teams from the TCU were ranked in an AP pre-season poll: Kansas and Baylor, the last two national champions tied for fifth, and number 12 in Texas. These are also the three teams selected ahead of the Frogs in a pre-season poll as voted by the ten coaches.
“We are good. “We think we’re good,” said Dixon. “But our role is really good.”
One transfer last season was Shehadeh Wells, a 6-foot-tall guard from Texas-Arlington. One of their best keepers in casual training, he played only seven games while dealing with a knee injury before the Frogs ordered him to be healthy for the season.
“He is one of our best shooters. He has become a very good defender,” said Dixon. He is our youngest goalkeeper. We’ve talked to him about being more physical, trying to play more. But he has great hands, is very active in handling the ball, and is just a wonderful kid.”
The TCU has 12 games before the other three Big 12 seeded teams from Texas face off in the first 12 days of multiplayer. The Frogs play their league opener on New Year’s Eve at home against Texas Tech, seeded 25th, then go to No. 5 Baylor, host of Iowa State and play 12th in Texas. Eight of the previous scores of matches were on campus, and another just a few blocks away at Dickies Arena. They’ll be in Florida after Thanksgiving to play California, then Clemson or Iowa. They take Utah to Salt Lake City a few days before Christmas.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball, https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll, https://twitter. com/AP_Top25
This story was originally published October 21, 2022 4:46 pm.