It’s a different world in college basketball, where top-ranked players expect to start from day one and are far less willing to bide their time on the bench before getting a chance to shine.
That appears to be the case for TCU Basketball freshman Kaden Archie, a top 100 recruit out of Midlothian, who has left the TCU Basketball program as the Frogs began conference play Saturday.
Archie is a 6’6” wing who had seen his playing time fluctuate somewhat this season, as he is caught in a logjam at forward that features sophomore Kouat Noi and junior Desmond Bane, both exceptional three point shooters that fit Dixon’s free-flowing offensive system better at the current time. The more veteran players are averaging at least 24 minutes a piece per game, while Archie is seeing just over 10 minutes of court time per contest. Averaging 2.1 points per game on 24% shooting (and a troubling 1-11 from deep), Archie has taken time to adjust to the collegiate game on the offensive end, but was improving each time out - and had a near highlight reel dunk against USC in LA that he was just short on, and put together some really strong stretches in early December.
Archie had a season-high 22 minutes against Oral Roberts in the second game of the season, and later followed that up with three consecutive games that saw him get 14 minutes of floor time each. He played just 13 total minutes in TCU’s last two games.
With 17 offers coming out of high school as the #3 ranked small forward in the state, Archie will have no shortage of suitors once he hits the open market. Were he to want to stay in the Big 12, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech all offered previously, or he could stay in the metroplex and join rival SMU, who had also shown interest. The rumor is that his preferred destination is Illinois, where Brad Underwood matriculated from Oklahoma State. The Fighting Illini are currently 4-10 and 0-3 in Big Ten play (though against the country’s seventh hardest schedule so far).
This is certainly a blow to the Horned Frogs to absorb with conference play looming and depth at a premium. Though Archie wasn’t a huge part of the rotation to this point, Jaylen Fisher continues to receive treatment on his knee, Yuat Alok is out for at least the beginning of conference play with a hand injury, and TCU is really just an injury away from pressing the next in line into service. Fellow freshman Kendric Davis has steadily seen his minutes increase, and that is likely to remain the case with Archie moving on. Dixon already lost one highly-touted player to the transfer portal this season when forward Angus McWilliam made a surprising decision to leave before the new year turned. Jamie Dixon commented on both players briefly after Saturday’s win over Baylor, mentioning, in regards to Angus, that injuries had a lot to do with his decision - while also noting that McWilliam was still on campus. In regards to Archie, Dixon was brief and pointed, saying simply “he’s not on the team anymore. Sometimes, what you think is not really what it is.”
The Frogs have a pair of highly-touted G/Fs coming in with the class of 2019, including electric athlete and scorer P.J. Fuller and fast-rising SF Diante Smith. This may have simply been a case of a young player looking ahead and seeing a numbers situation that he wasn’t comfortable with.
Kaden will need to sit 12 months before he will be eligible to play again, but unlike football, can start seeing the floor mid-season. One other note of interest, junior point guard Jaylen Fisher had surrendered his #0 to Archie before the season, switching to #10 this year. Fish has been lighting it up, so it’s unlikely he will change back.
As unfortunate a situation it is, we wish Kaden luck going forward.