Despite a busy offseason that saw the departure of nine Frogs, TCU will enter the 2015-2016 season with a solid core of returning players from a year ago. Chris Washburn and Karviar Shepherd were mainstays in the starting lineup during the 2014-2015 season and will no doubt be the leaders of this year's team. With Kyan Anderson's graduation and Kenrich Williams' season-ending surgery, Chauncey Collins and Brandon Parrish will get plenty of time on the court to create their own legacies. Devonta Abron, Michael Williams, and Dalton Dry also return for the Frogs, looking to play key roles off the bench.
Let's start with Chris Washburn, the only returning Frog to have started in all 33 games for TCU a season ago. Despite only averaging 23.9 minutes per game last year, Washburn quickly developed into an all-around forward. He enters the season with the highest scoring average of any returning Frog at 7.1 points per game - a mark that finished 5th on the team last year. He also led the team in steals and blocks, with 1.4 and 1.3 per game, respectively. As if that wasn't enough, Washburn also collected 5.8 rebounds each game, second only behind Kenrich Williams last year.
When he had the ball, Washburn was lethal. His 48.1 shooting percentage was best on the team among players with at least 50 shot attempts on the season. Finally, his 1.0 turnover per game average was lowest among all Frogs that played at least 20.0 minutes per game. Washburn posted double-digit points and/or rebounds in 10 of TCU's 33 games last season. He finished the year on a hot streak, recording 26 points, 15 rebounds, six steals, four assists, and three blocks during TCU's two games in the Big 12 Tournament. It's safe to say that Chris Washburn is the preeminent leader of this year's TCU team.
Karviar Shepherd enters the season as the Frog with the most career starts under his belt. Shepherd has started in 62 of TCU's 63 games over the last two seasons. In fact, the only game where Shepherd wasn't in the starting lineup was the final game of the regular season last year, when Trent Johnson swapped in Amric Fields so that he could start on Senior Day. As a true freshman during the 2013-2014 season, Shepherd carried a major load for the Frogs, averaging 30.8 minutes per game. With guys like Trey Zeigler, Chris Washburn, and Kenrich Williams added to the starting lineup last year, Shepherd saw his minutes per game average drop significantly, leading to a drop in his other per-game averages. Shepherd recorded just 23.8 minutes each game during the 2014-2015 season. His 6.1 points per game mark finished sixth on the team, while his 5.7 rebounds per game average was third-best. He also contributed 0.8 assists and blocks each night.
Where Shepherd struggled the most was with fouling. He finished the season with 101 fouls in 33 games, an average of more than three fouls per game, landing him in the top 50 in the nation in total fouls committed last year. His foul issues led to an inconsistent amount of playing time each night, which therefore led to an inconsistent level of production. On nights when Shepherd was in the game long enough to attempt at least four shots, he averaged 7.2 points per game on 43.9% shooting. When he attempted three or fewer shots, Shepherd averaged just 2.3 points on 28.6% shooting, meaning on average, he actually improves his shooting percentage the more shots he takes. A big key to his success this season will be whether or not Shepherd can stay out of foul trouble long enough to contribute significantly on the offensive end.
Brandon Parrish carries the most experience at the guard position of any player on this year's TCU roster. In addition to collecting 30 starts during his freshman year in 2013-2014, Parrish started the first 16 games of last season before transitioning to his role as a key component off the bench. Much like Shepherd, Parrish saw a decrease in playing time last season, leading to a reduction in his per-game averages from his freshman to his sophomore season. However, a more promising note is that Parrish increased his offensive efficiency from 2014 to 2015.
During his freshman season, he averaged 8.0 points in 29.6 minutes per game, which equates to 10.81 points per 40 minutes. Last season, Parrish averaged 5.5 points in 18.7 minutes per game, equating to 11.76 points per 40 minutes. His shooting percentage also went up by 3.5% from the field and 3.0% from behind the arc. Despite playing 300 fewer minutes in 2015 compared to 2014, Parrish recorded twice as many blocks and 25% more steals in his sophomore season than his freshman season. Parrish will likely see himself back in the starting lineup this season. With more playing time and continued improvement, he could be a force for TCU on the offensive end this season.
All signs point to Chauncey Collins leading the point for TCU this season. Collins was a prolific scorer in his high school days in the State of Oklahoma, averaging 28.3 points per game during his senior season. As is to be expected, Collins is still transitioning his game to a Big 12 level of competition. Playing directly behind Kyan Anderson a year ago, Collins managed just 3.5 points in 9.3 minutes per game. Only four times all season did he appear in a game for more than 15 minutes. Mainly because Anderson was dominating his final season as a Frog, Collins combined for just five points in 28 minutes of action in TCU's last nine games.
With that being said, Collins has proven that he is a lethal shooter. With an increase of playing time this season, Collins will likely play a much larger role in the TCU offense. When his stats from the 2014-2015 season are converted to a per-40 minutes scale, his numbers are quite impressive. If he continues to adjust to life in the Big 12 successfully, Collins should have no problem filling in to the massive footprint that Anderson left behind.
As the lone senior on the team, Abron has more appearances than any Horned Frog on the roster. He has played in 92 games in his collegiate career, 60 at TCU and another 32 at Arkansas. Prior to an injury that kept him out of the entire 2013-2014 season, Abron was posting some impressive numbers. His sophomore campaign saw averages of 7.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game on 53.0% shooting from the field. Last year, Abron managed only 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, however that can be attributed to only averaging 7.5 minutes as he returned to full strength after a debilitating Achilles tear. The role that Abron will play on this year's team has yet to be seen, but at worst, he is a very formidable sixth man off the bench that will contribute significant minutes.
and Dalton Dry are the final two returners for the Frogs this season. Williams appeared in 17 games a year ago, putting up 1.8 points in 4.9 minutes of play, while Dry checked into 10 games, scoring 0.5 points in 3.8 minutes on average. With only 11 healthy Horned Frogs this season, Williams and Dry will likely both see an increase in playing time. The significance of their minutes and production off the bench will likely magnify as we get into the heart of Big 12 play.
With Chris Washburn and Karviar Shepherd as captains, alongside Brandon Parrish and Chauncey Collins playing key roles as potential starters, the Frogs return a talented group of players that can easily make up the production that TCU lost during the offseason. Stay tuned tomorrow as we take a look at the four newcomers that will be making their TCU debuts this season.
Only four more days until tipoff!