Asked if the “dust has settled” amid reported interest in the UCLA job last month, TCU men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon just smiled.
“Nothing happened,” Dixon said. “Whatever the phrase, yeah, we’ve loved every minute of being at TCU. We continue to love it. Again, I’ve gone through this my whole coaching career.”
Dixon has been linked to other jobs in his coaching career.
A deal between Dixon and UCLA never came to fruition and, as far as Dixon is concerned, it’s like it never happened. He’s made it a point to downplay coaching speculation throughout his career, although he did release a statement and speak at length when UCLA hired Mick Cronin on April 9.
Dixon has consistently maintained that he’s happy at TCU, and sure seemed that way greeting boosters at one of his first university-sanctioned events since his name surfaced as a leading candidate for the Bruins job.
“Everyone always asks, ‘What do you do in the off-season?’” Dixon said. “The calendar just fills up with different events like this, recruiting. I enjoy these events. For me, sometimes I see somebody I went to school with, so that’s unique. And then you get to meet new people, new fans.”
Dixon and his staff have been busy preparing for next season. They’ve brought in several recruits already this off-season, and continue to build the roster for next season.
Given the “transfer portal” and players such as Kouat Noi bolting for the professional leagues early, roster turnover has become the norm. It’s part of playing in a respected conference like the Big 12.
“Every year is going to be, I don’t know what you call it, but recruiting in the spring and then in the summer and then fill rosters throughout. Just get used to it,” Dixon said. “We’re going to have to embrace it. That’s what it is. You’re going to have to find ways to get guys in school and you’re probably not going to be able to develop guys for all four years because of the rules and changes.
“We’re also in the best conference in the country, so we’re the next step to the NBA. We’re the closest thing to it, so it allows people to make that transition, look at that transition, or believe they are that close. We are that close. We’re the closest conference to it.”
One of the players testing the NBA Draft waters is TCU guard Desmond Bane. Most signs point to him returning for his senior season, but he won’t make that decision until later this month.
Dixon feels Bane has positioned himself well to evaluate his pro potential during this period, while also being in good shape to graduate without an overly demanding class schedule should he return.
“This has all been part of the process,” Dixon said. “Academics are in good shape, and he’s also a kid who wants to go and play and work out with the best players to see where he’s at.
“Again, this is what we signed up for coming to the Big 12. It’s all part of the process.”
Dixon is 68-41 in his three seasons at TCU, winning the NIT championship his first season and then snapping a 20-year NCAA Tournament drought in 2017-18. Last season, TCU ranked as one of the top snubs of the NCAA Tournament, but reached the NIT semifinals in New York.