Speaking on TCU basketball, and college basketball in general, I was re-thinking about an interesting topic on Grantland Live that Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose brought up.
If you don’t care to watch the video (or start it at 15:50 if you do want to), basically what Simmons and Rose talk about is if/how a college basketball team could dominate a mid-west city like Chicago. They brought up DePaul and the University of Chicago as teams that could Gonzaga themselves and essentially "create what didn’t exist" prior.
This was obviously just to get a good topic of conversation going, but one has to think, would the same rule apply to TCU as the Metroplex’s team?
The value of a TCU education is only going to go up in the coming years. As good as the Neeley Business and the Schieffer Journalism schools are, not to mention the growing engineering program (thank you Oil, Energy), TCU could potentially be a consistently ranked Top-75, if not Top 50 school nationally in the not too distant future.
Say what you will about the correlation of academics and athletics, but there’s little denying your diploma is worth slightly more because of Gary Patterson. Sure, Texas still has other small private schools like Rice and SMU who play in big market cities, but neither of them plays in the Big 12.
Simmons pointed out that a school like the University of Chicago, a Top 50 school, could become the "Duke of the Mid-West." There’s no shortage of schools with great academia and great basketball history; Duke, North Carolina, UCLA, and Georgetown, just to name a few.
The same argument is applicable to DFW, so why can’t it be TCU?
All The Momentum
It didn’t take long for TCU basketball to get some dividends after joining the Big 12. They signed their most highly touted recruit ever in Karviar Shepherd and it will only continue. The Trent Johnson hire has also seemed to be like the perfect choice for the Frogs. While Johnson wasn’t terribly outstanding at LSU, he certainly was at Stanford, so who knows…maybe it’s the private school uniqueness that Johnson does best.
Let’s also not forget the future basketball mecca coming in 2016 that will almost certainly be in the same spirit of the highly praised new Amon G. Carter stadium. It’s one thing playing in a drum shaped silo like the Erwin Center or
DFW is no stranger to great basketball talent and over the past ten years has produced names like LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Bosh The most recent prodigy to come out of this talent pool is Kentucky guard, freshman standout and future NBA lottery pick, Julius Randle. Not saying Randle and Shepard would be moving mountains at this point, but in the world of college basketball it doesn’t take terribly long to completely change your identity. It also only takes a few players.
Much like Gary is doing, Trent Johnson needs to put a fence over DFW and maybe some time in the near future take it to the "If you’re from the [Dallas-Fort Worth] area and you don’t come to play at TCU, then you’re a traitor" extreme seem like in the Grantland video. Then maybe after fencing off DFW, TMFJ could start building one around Houston.
If It’s Going To Be Anything, It’s Going To Be Basketball
I’m still not terribly keen on the idea of t-shirt fandom, at least for football, but the lackluster attendance this season sort-of had me wishing there were some more folks who got their TCU degree at Wal-Mart for $12.99
Foremost, there’s too much going on between August and December. Not only in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but having college teams play one game a week on Saturdays makes it easy for Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and even Tech alumni to travel to their respective alma matter. Getting non-TCU grads to games on Saturdays in the fall just isn’t feasible.
But basketball is another story.
Again, just look at what Rick Barnes did to Texas between 01-07, or the way Gonzaga built a basketball identity in mid to late 90s. It’s not unfathomable for a college basketball team to completely reinvent themselves in a short period of time.
I’m not saying TCU will flip fans, but having a premier team in an area like Dallas-FW could do wonders for the Horned Frogs as basketball fans could jump in and out of the program without severing any loyalties. Not to mention the insane impact it would have on recruiting.
I don’t drive up to basketball games very often, but when I do, TCU’s playing Andrew Wiggins or Marcus Smart. This is not only from a TCU standpoint, but it’s from a general basketball intrigue as well. There’s little doubt that the DMC will be packed when Wiggins comes to the Fort. Not just KU and some scattered TCU fans, but basketball fans in general will be coming to take a look at the Canadian prodigy.
Now imagine if this type of player was here on a regular basis.
Media outlets would have field day with a DFW team consistently in the Top 10. Even the Longhorn-loving ESPN would cover a dominant DFW basketball team like white on rice
No Big 12 team other than Kansas and maybe the Oklahoma schools, and especially not in Texas, has really established a consistently strong
a basketball identity. Texas had some great success in the 2000s, great Baylor teams come and go, and it was cool to see Bobby Knight rage for a couple years at Tech. But basketball will always be a blip on the radar for football-focused Texas and its fans, Waco has the appeal of a three-day-old eggsalad sandwich and Lubbock might as well be in Westeros it’s so far away…as well as having the appeal of an old eggsalad sandwich.
Not saying basketball would have to take precedence at TCU to build a dominant program. But is it insane to think the TCU basketball could give us something unique that the football team will likely never do? Is it too crazy too think a team in DFW could capture a major city’s basketball attention like UCLA did for the City of Angels, UH for the City of Syrup, Villanova for the city of Brotherly Love, UNLV’s for City of Sin, or Georgetown’s for the city of errr ---you get the picture, yes?
Yes, I’m thinking way ahead and very optimistically. But it’s Christmas time and we all gotta have a dream. No matter how far-fetched it is.
So don’t be a traitor DFW blue chips, come start something special in the DMC.