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How does Jaylen Fisher’s departure impact TCU’s season, future?

Tough times make teams tougher.

TCU vs Lipscomb | Fort Worth, TX | November 20, 2018
TCU vs Lipscomb | Fort Worth, TX | November 20, 2018
Melissa Triebwasser

When it rains, it pours.

TCU announced on Thursday morning that starting guard Jaylen Fisher is no longer with the program.

Fisher’s career at TCU has been riddled with knee injuries, and the 2018-19 season was no different. He missed TCU’s first three games of the season while recovering from knee surgery, and had not played since TCU’s trip to Hawaii in December because of knee issues.

With the loss of Fisher, TCU has now seen four players leave this season. Angus McWilliam left the team but is still in school at TCU, after battling concussion issues. Kaden Archie announced his intent to transfer, but hasn’t revealed where he’s going yet. Yuat Alok announced a transfer as well, but was likely finished for the season with a hand/wrist injury anyway.

When on the court, though, Fisher was a force to be reckoned with. This season he was averaging 12.1 points and over three assists per game, while shooting 41.2% from the floor, 44.1% from deep, and 90% from the free throw line.

His presence on the court allowed TCU to kill opponents with their spacing, because defending Fisher, Kouat Noi, and Desmond Bane beyond the arc was too much for most teams.

But the question now, is - what’s the long-term solution to replace him?

For this season TCU will continue to rely on guys like RJ Nembhard and Kendric Davis in in that 2-guard role next to Alex Robinson, while we can safely expect Kouat Noi to take on a larger role as well. Noi started in place of Nembhard Tuesday, while Nembhard battled the flu. RJ had been starting in Fisher’s place the last several games.

TCU’s depth, a strength at the beginning of the season, now seems like a liability. With nine scholarship players (including newly-scholarshiped Owen Aschieris) and Dixon saying they weren’t going to burn Russell Barlow’s redshirt, the Frogs will have to get creative with their lineups.

The potential here is for Alex Robinson and Desmond Bane’s minutes to continue to be through the roof. Both are averaging over 33 minutes per contest, and as two of TCU’s top three scorers, it feels more and more necessary for them to continue at that pace. But, for their own health, and for any potential run down the stretch, TCU needs to keep Bane and Robinson healthy.

As for seasons beyond this year, TCU will look to build on an already impressive recruiting class, possibly by bringing in a transfer or two, and maybe signing a late bloomer out of high school.

After this season TCU loses Alex Robinson and JD Miller to graduation. Assuming the Frogs don’t lose anyone else to transfer, TCU will have seven returning scholarship players (eight if Aschieris remains on scholarship), meaning they’ll have five/six spots left for scholarship players.

PJ Fuller (SG), Francisco Farabello (PG), and Diante Smith (SF) make up the 20th best recruiting class in college basketball for the 2019 cycle, and it looks like TCU recently extended an offer to 2019 big man Kuany Kuany - a 6’10” power forward originally form Kenya.

Room for a transfer point guard or two will be huge for the Frogs next season. Without Fisher and Robinson, Kendric Davis and Farabello will be the only point guards on the roster.

So it feels like Fisher’s time at TCU, amid all the hype, never really got off the ground before being over. The Frogs will move forward without him, but this is a tough loss for sure.