As we prepare for the TCU Basketball season to begin on Friday, let's take a quick look back at a busy offseason that saw a dramatic change in the makeup of the Frogs' roster. A successful recruiting class was met with a handful of transfers, graduations, injuries, and voluntary departures, resulting in some major changes for this year's TCU team.
Jalon Miller kicked off a successful recruiting season for Trent Johnson, as the four-star forward committed to TCU in late October before signing in early November. Johnson picked up his second recruit of the offseason on March 9, as three-star guard Lyrik Shreiner committed to the Frogs out of the Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix. About a month later, Malique Trent announced that he would be transferring to TCU from New Mexico Junior College. Finally, on May 11, Johnson signed transfer Vladimir Brodziansky out of Pratt Community College in Kansas.
Only two days after TCU formally said goodbye to Kyan Anderson, Amric Fields, and Trey Zeigler during spring commencement, Charles Hill announced via Twitter that he would be transferring to Tarleton State. Over the summer, Christian Gore made the decision to leave the program to focus on his upcoming December graduation. Josh Brown also voluntarily left he program during the summer.
After the semester started, TCU lost Hudson Price and Link Kabadyundi within two days of each other. On September 4, Kabadyundi decided that he would be transferring to Blinn Community College to work on his game at the junior college level. On September 6, we learned that Hudson Price would be transferring to UNC-Charlotte in order to play for his father, long-time NBA assistant coach and newly appointed Charlotte head coach Mark Price.
Finally, just about a week after the departure of Price, it was announced that the team's leading rebounder from a year ago, Kenrich Williams, would miss the entire 2015-2016 season after undergoing surgery to repair an injury in his knee.
Officially, the Frogs lost nine players from their 2014-2015 roster during the offseason, including the team's top four scorers and its top rebounder. Kyan Anderson, Trey Zeigler, Kenrich Williams, and Amric Fields averaged 39.6 points per game last season, an amount that equates to over 58% of the team's total offensive output. Williams led the team in rebounds with 6.7 per game while Anderson led in assists with 4.3 each night. Replacing the scoring lost from this quartet of Frogs will be the most pressing challenge facing this year's TCU team.
While it can be argued that Hudson Price, Charles Hill, and Christian Gore weren't critical to TCU's success on any given night, each player did provide important experience and support off the bench. Price averaged just 9.1 minutes per game, but was usually one of the first guys off the bench in the second half to provide a presence in the paint. He averaged 2.8 points appearing in 28 of the Frogs' 33 games last season. Charles Hill only averaged 5.3 minutes per game in 14 appearances, but he provided a late scoring spark off the bench. He almost single-handedly kept TCU alive in tough games against Kansas and West Virginia. Gore was also a role-player off the bench. He ate up important minutes late in games, providing a bridge back to starters who might have been gassed or in foul trouble. Gore also came up big several times in the 2013-2014 season in which TCU was suffering from countless late-season injuries.
Link Kabadyundi played a bit lesser of a role last season, but was the type of player that Trent Johnson has coached into being successful in the past. He did have flashes of brilliance last season, including a 12 point, six rebound night against Mississippi Valley State. He certainly has the size and talent to be a force at the junior college level. Finally,redshirted last season and did not appear in a game for TCU.
Replacing the production lost from these nine Frogs will be a significant challenge for this year's team. In total, the players no longer with the program accounted for 58.4% of the team's minutes played, 63.4% of its total points, 69.1% of its made three-pointers, 48.3% of its rebounds, and 70.3% of its assists.
When non-conference statistics are removed, those numbers become even more staggering. The nine players TCU lost this offseason accounted for 68.6% of the team's total points scored in Big 12 play, 57.0% of the team's total rebounds, and 78.0% of the team's total assists. While it may be very difficult to make up these differences, all is not doom and gloom for the Horned Frogs this season.
Chris Washburn, Karviar Shepherd, Brandon Parrish, and Chauncey Collins all figure to step up and play major roles for Trent Johnson's team this year. Each of those four players had an entire season to play alongside Anderson, Fields, and Zeigler. The experienced gained while playing with that trio of Frogs will no doubt be invaluable this season. In addition, the four incoming players are all very talented in their own right. As our TCU Basketball Preview Series continues this week, we will take a closer look at the returning players on Monday before looking at the new guys on Tuesday.
This offseason was certainly a busy one for TCU. While the roster looks thinner today than it did a year ago, the players that left all helped to build the foundation for this program. With continued success this season, the 2015-2016 Horned Frogs look to build upon that foundation and further elevate TCU in the college basketball landscape.