TCU coach Jamie Dixon said former coach Trent Johnson “left us good players, coached them hard and got them ready” for the Horned Frogs’ turnaround season last year.
Dixon inherited Johnson recruits Kenrich Williams, Vladimir Brodziansky and Alex Robinson, the top three scorers a year ago in the Frogs’ 24-15 season, and JD Miller, the fifth-leading scorer.
Brodziansky was a coaches pick on the preseason All-Big 12 team. Williams led the league last year with 19 double-doubles, and Robinson — a Mansfield Timberview product who transferred from Texas A&M — was third in assists.
Dixon said at the Big 12’s basketball Media Day on Tuesday that’s why he stressed winning immediately at TCU last season rather than patience for a rebuild.
“We had good players, and I knew some of them,” he said. “Alex Robinson, we recruited at Pitt. I heard Kenrich Williams was good — better than I was told, better than we thought. Vlad just kept getting better because he works. There were some pieces there, and Trent won a lot of games, coached a lot of people, coached a lot of pros. He developed some guys and made them tougher.”
Johnson was fired in 2016 following his fourth season at TCU, where he was 8-64 in Big 12 games.
Two of Dixon’s first signees, guards Jaylen Fisher and Desmond Bane, started 47 games between them last season. Bane started the final four games of the NIT championship run after Fisher broke his hand in the tournament opener.
This season’s TCU roster has only five players who played for Johnson. Year 2 of the Dixon era begins Nov. 10 against Louisiana Monroe.
“We didn’t look at it as a rebuild, because our history hasn’t been good enough to talk about the past,” Dixon said. “We looked at it as a start-up. That’s what I told the guys — this is the first time we’ve been in a conference like this with the resources, with the new arena, with you guys as players.
“I never was the guy that was saying it’s going to take some time. We never said that. We expected to win, and we expected to win now. It was great for us. We won 24 games, but in my mind we should have won more, so I wasn’t satisfied.”