Question: How might you follow-up one of the greatest seasons and best tournament performances in TCU Basketball’s program history?
Answer: Run it back with nearly the same squad; another year of bonding, building upon adversity together, and adding some potential flair with a couple of transfers and a touted freshman on campus.
That’s exactly the hand the Frogs are holding as we gear up for the 2022-23 Men’s Basketball season. With other high-profile sports struggling in 2021-22, the basketball program shone bright, winning massive games, earning their second NCAA Tournament appearance under Dixon, and giving one of the best teams in the country (and the top-performing NBA rookie this season) everything they could handle and then some. I’ll intentionally skirt the results of the aforementioned (new year, new us), and it looks like the Frogs have teed themselves up to improve upon last season, with their highest preseason ranking ever to show for it.
We are eager to start analyzing the team this season, and their exhibition against Paul Quinn Sunday was a great way to introduce the entire roster. So, to kick off our basketball coverage for the 2022-23 season, let’s take a peek at the roster full of familiar faces sprinkled with a few new players worth brushing up on:
As mentioned, the Frogs are returning 12 players from last season, with only Farabello opting to enter the transfer portal and two others completing their eligibility requirements (Harrison Young and Maxwell Evans). This means the starting five and core rotation are basically intact, this time with another year of experience and the taste of tournament success on their tongue.
In addition to the core, the Frogs have added a couple of transfers (Rondel Walker from OSU and Tyler Lundblade from SMU) and one incoming freshman (PJ Haggarty from Crosby HS)
The roster is largely familiar, but there are some new wrinkles heading into the season this year: Damion Baugh (and his suspension with subsequent appeal), and the health of previously injured roster players (notably, Shahada Wells, the UTA transfer).
Mike Miles (G), Damion Baugh (G), Chuck O’Bannon Jr. (F), Emmanuel Miller (F), Eddie Lampkin (C)
Where else to start other than the guard who really needs no introduction around Fort Worth (which may also be the case for the nation here shortly). Bob Cousy Watch Lister and Team Leader Mike Miles is going to be the key to Horned Frog basketball success again this season. Three things to watch for with Miles this season: how he develops as a leader, how he avoids or manages injuries throughout the course of the season, and how his three-point shot improves (Miles shot just under 30% from long range last year). No matter what, expect flashy, athletic plays and an electric atmosphere when he’s on the court.
At the other guard position, we’re penciling in Baugh. If you follow this team; however, you know that Baugh is facing a suspension earned during his declaration for the draft and dealings with an agent, which is currently under appeal and his current and long-term status remain unclear for the time being. If Baugh does play, expect his participation in leading the offense/second team and hopefully his success from beyond the arc (only 27% last year) to grow.
For the forwards, O’Bannon and Miller are expected to start again. The USC transfer is entering his final year at TCU and hopes to build upon the breakout game he turned in against Arizona (23 points including 5 threes). Miller returns again and might be the most versatile starter we have due to his ability to slot in anywhere as an athletic wing. His rebounding (along with Lampkin’s) will be essential for the Frogs this season.
Mike Miles may be the leader and foundation for the Frog’s success, but center Eddie Lampkin is the heart and soul of the Frogs. We know that Lampkin will bring the energy and passion, and now we’re anxious to see how he continues to build upon his late-season success last year. Lampkin burst out with some great performances throughout last season, and he was the one whose hustle plays and fiery effort kept the Frogs focused when adversity hit. We are equally excited to watch Lampkin as we are Miles this year.
Micah Peavy (G), PJ Haggarty (G), Rondel Walker (F), Shahada Wells (F), Jakobe Coles (F)
Looking at some of the key non-starters, let’s start with the most familiar face amongst this group: Micah Peavy. Peavy got a lot of playing time in varying roles last year, including earning a few starts as a fill-in. Peavy was a solid role player, hitting a few key shots and playing decent defense in his minutes. This season, we’d look for his offensive numbers to improve (he averaged 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist last year) as he will begin the season as a sixth man and possible fill in starter depending on the Damion Baugh situation.
Last year’s Mr. Basketball in Texas, three-star recruit PJ Haggarty comes on campus looking to make a name for himself. His senior season in Houston saw him average 28 ppg while shooting over 40% from three. Haggarty has a great opportunity to learn from another talented scorer (Miles) while certainly getting some opportunities to play with meaningful minutes, especially early in the season.
Rondel Walker comes to TCU from Oklahoma State, where the former Top-100 player came off the bench. Walker was a strong defender who averaged over 1.5 steals a game and was second on the team with 48 steals last year, but he may have disappointed the Pokes on offense, where his numbers struggled (4.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists per game in 2021-22). Wells could fill an incredibly important role as a defender and with some improved offense anchor our second team to protect leads.
Shahada Wells transferred from UTA before last season, but only played in a handful of games for the Frogs before experiencing a season-ending knee injury. On top of bouncing back from that, we’re looking to see if Wells can return to the same offensive levels he found during his time at UTA. During his 2020-21 junior season, he averaged over 16 points and shot almost 40% from three. A healthy Wells could be the offensive injection to keep the second string humming this season.
Lastly, one of our other transfers is Jakobe Coles, coming in from Butler, Coles could be a perfect stretch four, depending on how he continues to come back from a prior meniscus injury. Coles has potential to stretch the floor with his shooting ability, and he’s a solid defender, which is always welcome in a conference generally stacked with talent.
While the roster looks largely the same as last season, there’s certainly some wrinkles and players to watch as we head into the highly anticipated 2022-23 affair. Stay locked into Frogs ‘o War as we cover the Team with game and strategy analysis, trending topics, and hopefully cover a deep run into March (and possibly April).