Sports

‘It’s not good to have college basketball and FBI in the same sentence,’ TCU’s Dixon says

TCU starts its basketball season in less than three weeks, and coach Jamie Dixon is ready to get his third season underway.

There’s a buzz surrounding a team that snapped a 20-year NCAA Tournament drought last season, had a player make an NBA team and only has a few singles left before being sold-out of season tickets.

All is well when it comes to TCU’s basketball program. The same can’t be said for the college basketball world in general, particularly a few high-profile schools such as Kansas and Louisville entangled in the FBI basketball case.

A corruption trial has brought to light the underworld of college basketball with shoe executives and agents funneling thousands of dollars to high-profile prospects to play for – in this case – adidas-sponsored schools. TCU is sponsored by Nike.

“Yeah, I’m following it, we look at it, we see it,” Dixon said. “I just read the articles that come out and what quotes come out and what statements come out. I think it is what it is. I don’t know what will come of it. I don’t think anybody knows what’s still going to come out of it.

“But it’s not good to have college basketball and FBI in the same sentence. Nobody wants their name involved with the FBI.”

To avid fans of college basketball, the revelations may not be too shocking. A similar thing happened in April 2000 when Myron Piggie, a prominent AAU basketball coach at the time with strong ties to Nike, was indicted on 11 counts of fraud and served 37 months in federal prisons.

To more casual fans, though, this latest trial may be eye-opening considering the scope and amount of money (six-figure payments to recruits’ families) being exchanged.

For Dixon, who is entering his 16th season as a head coach, the only “shock” came with the FBI being involved.

“There’s always been rumors about the shoe companies and how things play out,” Dixon said. “We’re not seeing those things unless you’re a part of it, so rumors are rumors.

“But games will go on, there’s going to be great players out there and I don’t see it changing the product, the games, the things that we can control.”

Other items of note from Dixon, who met with reporters on Thursday –

Fisher update. Junior guard Jaylen Fisher is on track as far as his rehab is concerned. Fisher underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last month, the same knee he tore his meniscus in last January.

Dixon said everything is on schedule, although conceded there is an extra level of concern given Fisher’s injury history.

“If this was the first one, everything would be perfect progress,” Dixon said.

Constant shuffle. With players such as Fisher and Lat Mayen working their way back from injuries, Dixon described his team as “fluid.” It’ll be difficult for the Frogs to settle on an eight- or nine-man rotation early on.

“We’re going to be constantly having guys coming in that haven’t practiced or missed practice,” Dixon said. “So this is going to be a constantly changing team. We’ve got some situations that we’re constantly going to be coaching, adjusting, improving and working.”

Best practice? Dixon described Wednesday’s practice as the best to date. It was the Frogs’ 14th official practice. Said Dixon: “This is a work-in-progress. It’s a process. I thought yesterday was a good day, good response to coming back from [fall] break.”

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