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TCU Basketball 2018-19 Preview: Frontcourt

If the Frogs can find a center, this will be the deepest unit in the Dixon era

TCU Basketball vs Oklahoma State 2.17.18
TCU Basketball vs Oklahoma State 2.17.18
Melissa Triebwasser

After previewing the backcourt, we now turn our eyes to the forwards and centers. The Frogs’ top two players from a year ago, Kenrich Williams and Vladimir Brodziansky, both played up front, so replacing their production will be a major focus. Additionally, the entire center rotation from last season is gone. Some young players will need to play well right out of the gate.

Roster Changes

Departures: Kenrich Williams, Vladimir Brodziansky, Ahmed Hamdy, Austin Sottile

Arrivals: Kaden Archie, Yuat Alok, Russell Barlow

Projected Starters

#12 Kouat Noi (So, Montverde Academy [FL])

2017-18 Stats: 10.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.7 APG, 50/43/61 shooting splits

Noi took over the starting spot last February, and proved his worth as a three point specialist. He’s the most consistent shooter on the team, and also flashes athleticism with some monster dunks. He needs to become more consistent on the defensive end - that’s why it took so long for him to replace JD Miller in the starting 5 - but he certainly has the tools to do so. It’s easy to forget that last year he was only a redshirt freshman, so we are likely only scratching the surface of what Kouat can do on the court.

#15 JD Miller (Sr, Dallas Seagoville)

2017-18 Stats: 7.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.0 APG, 47/31/66 shooting splits

As was detailed earlier this week on this site, Miller is going to be an essential part of the defense this season. With so many offensive weapons on the roster, JD can make his mark as a solid cutter on offense and the lynchpin for the defense. This has been an adjustment, as even as recently as December of 2017 he was consistently putting up double digit scoring outputs. He has also increased his efficiency shooting the ball every season in Fort Worth, and if his volume is limited this season, I see no reason why he can’t be an uber-efficient fifth option on the offensive end. JD is a sleeper player to watch this season, as he’s not the flashiest, but his success will likely reflect the team’s success overall.

#21 Kevin Samuel (RFr, Houston Redemption Christian)

2017-18 Stats: DNP, redshirt

I believe Samuel will get the first crack at starting based on what I saw at the Purple/White scrimmage last Friday. He’s had a year to sit and learn in the program, and he clearly has a rapport with Alex Robinson. As I mentioned in the backcourt preview, A Rob will need a new pick and roll partner, and Samuel may be it. He won’t pop out for threes like Vlad - he’s much more of a traditional center - but his athleticism and size make him a perfect matchup against teams like Kansas.


#0 Kaden Archie (Fr, Midlothian)

2017-18 Stats (Midlothian): 18.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.5 APG, 49/26/64 shooting splits

Archie is one of the most talented prospects to put on a TCU uniform, and the coaches have sky high expectations for the freshman. He’s an amazing slasher on offense, gliding to the basket and finishing tough through and around contact. A high ceiling player thanks to his athleticism, Archie jumped over six feet in high jump. If he can develop a more consistent outside shot and reign in his focus on the defensive end, he has the potential to be one of the best to ever come through the program.

#35 Yuat Alok (Jr, Chipola College)

2017-18 Stats (Chipola): 12.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 0.7 APG, 55/48/82 shooting splits

Alok is another potential candidate for the starting center spot, and comes to TCU as one of the highest rated JUCO players in the country. A Rivals five star recruit out of high school, Yuat is another player for which the sky is the limit. He expanded his range his sophomore season, taking 27 threes and knocking them down at a 48% clip. He also averaged a block and a half per game at Chipola, meaning that he will be a defensive key. Look for Alok to fill a similar role to Vlad Brodziansky as he continues to mature and develop.

#23 Angus McWilliam (RFr, Middleton Grange [NZ])

2017-18 Stats: DNP, redshirt

McWilliam is another option for the team at the 5. Hailing from New Zealand, Angus absolutely dominated his prep competition to the tune of 27 points, 22 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. He has shown a willingness to shoot from three and moves fluidly around the court. Like Samuel, McWilliam will be helped by his redshirt year within Coach Dixon’s system. We’ll have to wait and see how he performs in game action, but McWilliam has as good a chance as anyone to crack the rotation and see meaningful minutes.

#11 Lat Mayen (RFr, Australia Center of Basketball Excellence)

2017-18 Stats: DNP, redshirt

Kouat Noi’s cousin will finally get a chance to see the court this season after redshirting the 17-18 season. Mayen was considered the #1 player in Australia in the 2017 class, and is similar to Noi in his ability to shoot the three ball. He only got a little bit of burn in the scrimmage, which is the only time I’ve seen him play in person, but Australian products have done well in the TCU system in the past.

#34 Russell Barlow (Fr, Dallas Bishop Lynch)

2017-18 Stats (Bishop Lynch): 9.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 0.6 APG, 59/20/74 shooting splits

The final newcomer to the team, it wouldn’t surprise me if Barlow redshirted this season considering the depth at the 4 and 5. He appeared to be the fourth center in the rotation during the scrimmage, and another season of development to fill out his frame would work wonders. Barlow certainly is accustomed to success, winning MVP of his District 6A-1. Don’t expect to see much of Russell this season, but keep his name on your mind as the team moves forward.