While Frog country is consumed with a rejuvenated thirst for football supremacy, they may want to pay attention to the next phase of 2014-15 TCU athletics. The basketball season is about to begin in the middle of the most infectious run of success Horned Frog athletics have experienced since 2010. All sparked by TCU baseball’s streak last spring, 2014 has been a good year for TCU sports so far.
And as any one of the 30 or 40 TCU basketball fans could tell you, the Frogs’ men’s hoops team is going to have a different vibe to it this year too.
Similar to the TCU football program, the basketball team entered the Big 12 with a very young core of talent. In addition to the lack of on-court experience, the team was in a coaching transition for its first two years in the new conference.
Naturally, they got spanked.
But Trent Johnson has been quietly changing things.
On top of gathering a refreshing wealth of skilled young players, Johnson has been toughening up the team’s culture- holding each player accountable for his responsibilities to the team and generating an idea of pride that has been absent from the program for quite a while.
Don’t be surprised if that, in addition to the school’s current wave of athletic momentum, leads to Big 12 basketball success for the first time.
I’m not saying National Title hopes, but I am saying significant progress, and entertaining hoops.
The program has a few stars this year that I expect to lead the charge.
The best way I can describe the career of the senior point guard is like this: you know the old sports announcer cliché that references a bench player at a good program as "a guy who could be a starter at smaller schools?" Well that’s Anderson.
He has had no problem getting his in the first two years in the new conference, entering his last year as the team’s leading scorer.
In his senior year, Anderson has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Trevone Boykin and emerge as a mature leader for a young, but talented TCU team.
Shepherd struggled early with the physicality that comes with playing in a power five conference last year, but showed flashes of the defensive presence that he has the potential to be.
Additionally, Shepherd is a great athlete and is developing more coordination and ability on the offensive end of the floor, so don’t be surprised if he begins to put up some juicy numbers in his sophomore campaign.
The player that I have always seen as a reasonable ceiling for Shepherd is Taj Gibson. They have similar builds, and similar defense-first playing styles coupled with offensive prowess and athleticism.
With a year of experience on the court and in the weight room already under his belt, I expect Shepherd to begin to live up to the expectations that came with his arrival in Fort Worth.
I have huge expectations for Collins. He has the potential to turn into an absolute scoring machine for the Frogs and burst onto the Big 12 scene as an offensive spark plug off the bench as a freshman.
Collins is one of those instant offense type of players that plays his best when matched with top competition.
The kid was an absolute monster in high school, but didn’t gain a lot of national attention early on because he was home schooled. Don’t be fooled though, this kid has real talent.