TCU’s best player last season, Kyan Anderson, is going to get a chance to play with better talent around him this year, coach Trent Johnson said in a conference call Tuesday as the Big 12 men’s basketball coaches updated reporters on their off-seasons.
“Kyan will be playing with better players. I know he’s looking forward to that,” Johnson said.
Anderson finished last season on a roll, averaging 19.9 points over the final 14 games. The senior from North Crowley ranks 17th on the school’s scoring list and has started 85 consecutive games.
“I think he can make a really good jump offensively,” Johnson said. “He’s very talented, very skilled, very proven. Defensively, the key for him is to keep the ball in front of him at the point of attack and being able to improve his leadership. Exciting time for him, going into his senior year.”
The Horned Frogs went 9-22 and 0-18 in the Big 12 and finished the season with six players sidelined by injury, including second-leading scorer Amric Fields and former Central Michigan and Pitt guard Trey Zeigler. Johnson said their return, plus signees Chauncey Collins and Kenrich Williams, improve the talent base.
“For me, it’s exciting from the standpoint that we can go to practice and we’ll be able to compete, get better and be able to practice,” Johnson said. “Our skill level and all those other kinds of things are much improved.”
TCU added three players: guard Collins, a home schooler from Oklahoma City; forward Williams from New Mexico Junior College, and Link Kabadyundi, a 7-foot-1 center from Montreal.
Johnson said Collins and Williams can help right away, but Kabadyundi is more of a project.
“Link is a kid that if we do our job, and I do my job, a year from now, we’re going to look out there and say, ‘Oh, boy, he’s got a chance to be special,’ ” Johnson said. “We don’t have anything like him in terms of his strength and size and length. It’s going to be fun, going to be exciting. But by no means is he a guy that is going to come in and average a double-double. He’s a work in progress.”
Kansas coach Bill Self said the San Antonio Spurs and coach Gregg Popovich did him and other college coaches a favor with their display of team basketball in winning the NBA championship.
“I think what Pop and the Spurs have done will make it much easier for college coaches to coach,” he said. “Listen to their timeouts, ‘The ball can’t stick.’ I can tell you those are the same words coaches across the country have used, and we have, daily. I think it will help re-emphasize what coaches are selling. That will be great for our game.”
Texas in China
Texas coach Rick Barnes said his team’s game in China in 2015 will help the players grow as people.
“I like it. I like to travel. I wish everybody could see different parts of the world, see things that are out there,” he said. “It would help many people grow. It certainly has helped me grow.”
The game is set to be the season opener for the Longhorns, against Washington, at 9 p.m. on Nov. 13. (The game time is 11 a.m. on Nov. 14 in China). It is part of an agreement by Chinese sports officials and the Pac-12 to showcase the conference in China.