There’s a sense of optimism around TCU men’s basketball, as coach Trent Johnson will acknowledge.
But he’s not getting swept up by it.
He’s not the swept-up type.
“I’m a realist,” he said. “I’ve been doing it too long.”
Entering his fourth season with the Horned Frogs, Johnson has his most talented roster thanks to the addition of the top junior-college combo guard in the nation last year, Malique Trent, and a four-star high school forward, JD Miller. They’re among four newcomers who join veterans Chris Washburn, Karviar Shepherd and Brandon Parrish, who were part of the Horned Frogs’ 18-15 season a year ago, their winningest under Johnson.
“Yes, we won 18 games last year. Yes, there was improvement. Yes, our facilities are going to be open. Yes, there’s a level of excitement, there’s a level of hope,” Johnson said. “But the reality is, we have to be better in terms of every day in our approach to practice, our maturity, guys accepting new roles. And therein lies our ability to be better than we were last year.”
Friday against Southeastern Louisiana, the season of optimism begins.
Three key Frogs
1. Sophomore guard Malique Trent. TCU is going to try to use three players at point guard, but Trent is perhaps the most dynamic. The Frogs had that kind of play last season with Kyan Anderson. Replacing it will be one of the season’s toughest projects.
2. Junior forward Chris Washburn. The team’s leading returning rebounder. One of only three players to start every game last season, and the only one returning. Dropped 30 pounds in the off-season to try to get quicker and have more stamina.
3. Junior forward Karviar Shepherd. His points and rebounds were down in his sophomore year from his freshman year, when he was Johnson’s first prized recruit. The Frogs will have firepower outside. Production from Shepherd will balance them inside.
1. Trent averaged 15.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in being named the NJCAA freshman of the year at New Mexico Junior College last season.
2. Freshman forward, all-state player and four-star recruit JD Miller averaged 24.5 points last season in Seagoville High School’s 20-12 season.
3. Freshman guard Lyrik Shreiner set an Arizona high school record with 65 points after shooting 26-for-27 in a game for Westwind Prep Academy.
4. Sophomore forward Vladimir Brodziansky averaged 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds at Pratt Community College in Kansas last season.
1. Leading scorer Kyan Anderson, who averaged 13.4 points last season and finished seventh all-time in TCU scoring.
2. Trey Zeigler, second on the team last season in almost every category, behind only Anderson.
3. Leading rebounder Kenrich Williams, a junior forward who will miss the season because of knee surgery but is expected to return next season.
Southeastern Louisiana at TCU
8:30 p.m. Friday, University Rec Center
1 Chauncey Collins
Comment: Range and quick release on 3-pointers
3 Malique Trent
Comment: High-rated transfer from New Mexico JC
11 Brandon Parrish
Comment: One of the top returning 3-point shooters
33 Chris Washburn
Comment: Seventh in steals in Big 12 games last season
32 Karviar Shepherd
Comment: Third season for TCU’s highest-rated signee