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TCU News & Notes: Miles, Evans shining, Norrie gives Fed all he can handle

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Kirk Saarloos might have found an experienced weekend starter.

Day Six: The Championships - Wimbledon 2021 Photo by TPN/Getty Images

Basketball:

Mike Miles earned the start in Saturday’s FIBA U-19 Championships opener, ultimately scoring seven points in 16 minutes as USA blew out Turkey 83-54 to start their tourney run. The Americans took on Mali Sunday, with Miles playing a bigger role as a distributor, ultimately ending Team USA’s 100-52 victory with six assists, two rebounds, a steal and two blocks. Miles has been a big part of the elite U-19 roster, and playing alongside some of the best young hoopers in the country is going to be such a benefit to the rising sophomore. It’s been a lot of fun to see him in international competition, and I can’t wait to see what he does the rest of the week and how that impacts his time at TCU next fall.

Football:

Anytime Zach Evans name comes up in a college football story, the words “bizarre recruiting” seem to follow. Evans, at one time rated as the top prospect in the country as a junior, missed North Shore’s second game of the 2019 season due to disciplinary reasons and was absent from the state championship game after violating team rules. He initially signed his NLI with Georgia but was released from his obligation ahead of National Signing Day, ultimately surprising the college football world by signing with TCU last May.

Well, the haters are mad now, as Evans has gone from guy who missed half a playoff game to take the ACT to Academic All-Big 12, named to the All Rookie team alongside teammate Hilton Harris last week. Evans, a youth advocacy and education studies major, had to have completed 24 semester hours and achieved a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0.

Gary Patterson has spoken highly of his young running back, the first five star player to sign with the program since the rankings began. Not only has his work ethic been evident on the field, but in the classroom, as Evans has been an excellent example of a kid who just needed the right environment to thrive. I couldn’t be happier for a young man that is clearly a star on the field, but has taken advantage of his opportunities to grow off of it, too. GP’s hard ass style isn’t for everyone, but seeing a kid who was thrown so much doubt a year ago thriving is a testament to TCU’s all-encompassing program and family atmoshpere.

Baseball:

The most disappointing part of TCU Baseball’s 2021 season was the weekend rotation; while Russell Smith and Austin Krob showed flashes of greatness, a true third member of the rotation was severely lacking, and solidifying the rotation with a veteran arm had to be priority number one for Kirk Saarloos this offseason.

He found a great one in former Oregon righty Brett Walker, who entered the portal and signed with TCU over the weekend. Walker, who served as UO’s Sunday starter in 2021, was 6-3 with a 3.66 ERA and 60 strikeouts over 83.2 innings this season. He went 4-1 with a 4.14 ERA and 34 strikeouts over 54.1 innings in Pac-12 play. A third team preseason All American, Walker was 3-0 with 0.84 ERA in 2020 and is 11-6 in his career with a 3.98 ERA with 98 strikeouts over 153.2 innings. With at least one season of eligibility remaining, Walker fills an immediate void in the rotation. If he can fill the Sunday role in Fort Worth, backending Smith and Krob, the Frogs’ biggest weakness could quickly become a strength.

In other baseball news, we would be remiss to not mention Zach Humphreys being named Big 12 Baseball Scholar Athlete of the Year. Hump earned his masters in Business Analytics with a 3.50 grade-point average and 85.9% percent participation last season while batting .316 with 68 hits, 24 extra-base hits and 40 RBIs in 57 games played and 56 started. The Frogs’ long time catcher is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection (2019-21) and 2021 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.

Tennis:

Cam Norrie’s rise up the professional rankings has been swift, and he may have taken his biggest step yet at Wimbledon over the weekend. Participating in both singles and doubles action, Norrie took Roger Federer to four sets Saturday, matching him attack for attack, challenging Fed with 11 third-set forehand winners and forcing 11 unforced errors while committing just four himself.

Though Norrie was ultimately bested by one of the greatest to ever do it, he earned a ton of respect on the national stage while becoming just the third Brit to reach the third round at one of the most prestigious tournaments of the season since 1999. Norrie’s future couldn’t be brighter, and he seems just a breath away from breaking through for a major championship.

Also competing at Wimbledon is another fellow Horned Frog, current TCU Tennis Team member Alistair Gray — who also happens to be the reigning Big 12 Tennis Scholar Athlete of the Year. Gray is flirting with turning pro after an unbelievable summer, including starring alongside Aidan McHugh in doubles at The All England Club. While Frog fans love seeing one of their own star, the better he plays, the better chance we don’t see him back on the purple courts next season. Either way, Gray has been an exceptional representative of one of TCU’s elite programs both in Fort Worth and around the world.