TCU

TCU basketball lands Keller guard Nembhard, Australian forward

TCU signee R.J. Nembhard averaged 20.6 points and 5.3 rebounds for Keller last season.
TCU signee R.J. Nembhard averaged 20.6 points and 5.3 rebounds for Keller last season. Special to the Star-Telegram

The buzz surrounding the Jamie Dixon era of TCU men’s basketball got louder Wednesday when the Horned Frogs announced the signings of two players, including a heralded guard from Tarrant County and a notable Australian forward who will join the team next season.

Keller guard R.J. Nembhard (6-foot-4, 180 pounds), who is rated as the No. 71 recruit nationally by Rivals, joins Lat Mayen, a 6-8 small forward considered Australia’s second-best prospect by ausahoops.com. Both players received four-star grades from recruiting services.

TCU has commitments from two other players: Kevin Samuel, a 6-10 center from Houston’s St. Thomas Episcopal, and Andre Pierce, a 6-9 power forward from Lee College in Baytown. But only Nembhard and Mayen officially became Horned Frogs on Wednesday’s first day of the early signing period.

Nembhard, a TCU commitment since June, is ranked as the fifth-best player in Texas by Rivals. He averaged 20.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season for Keller. A consensus four-star prospect, he is ranked as the No. 120 prospect in the nation by 247Sports and No. 11 in Texas. He chose TCU over a list of finalists that included Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, California and others.

Mayen, a Sudanese refugee who plays for Australia’s Under-19 national team, received a three-star rating from Rivals but has been identified as Australia’s top prospect on some sites. Mayen averaged 11.5 points and 7.1 rebounds a game while representing South Australia in the Australian Under-20 National Championships. He also averaged 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds a game at the 2015 Australian School Championships while shooting 51 percent from the field. His list of finalists included Maryland, Utah, Marquette and Virginia Tech.

TCU opens its season Friday against the University of St. Thomas at 6 p.m. in Schollmaier Arena. It will be the first game for Dixon, a former TCU player, to coach at his alma mater after 13 seasons at Pittsburgh. Fans attending the opener will receive a bobblehead of Dixon.

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch

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