Competitiveness has TCU sophomore in starting lineup

There’s a reason Kenrich Williams moved into the starting lineup two games ago, even if he doesn’t know it.

He doesn’t back down from anyone.

“The thing I like about guys like Kenrich, he could be playing against Michael Jordan and that’s not going to dictate how aggressive he is in his approach to it,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “A lot of people, when the competition gets good, they’ll disappear. Well, Kenrich is not like that. I see it every day in practice; I see it in a game like this. ... He just competes.”

Williams had 10 points to lead TCU in Monday night’s loss to No. 17 Texas. He also had four rebounds, an assist and a steal. He shot 4-for-8 overall and hit one 3-pointer.

In his first start Saturday against Texas Tech, he had six points and seven rebounds. In five conference games this season, the sophomore forward from Waco is averaging 6.6 points and 6.0 rebounds.

Asked after Monday’s game what got him into the starting lineup, Williams said, “Just a coach’s change.”

Nothing he did?

“I guess not,” he said and smiled. “I don’t know.”

But of course, Johnson knows.

“He’s been really consistent in terms of his effort,” he said. “I think the easiest way to say this, in athletics, is when you play good people, you play good teams, it tests you, what you’re about.”

And clearly, Williams has passed.

At the line

TCU’s struggles at the line hit a season-low 39.1 percent Monday against Texas.

The Horned Frogs missed six straight at one point in going 9-for-23. They entered the game shooting 62.3 percent this season.

“It’s like anything else — and I don’t want to tell you how much we shoot them — that’s mental, that’s confidence, that’s toughness,” Johnson said. “That’s all that is.”

Johnson used Trey Zeigler as an example, noting that the senior was shooting 70.8 percent in conference games before going 1 for 5 on Monday.

“You step up there with some confidence, you follow through and you have some confidence in yourself,” Johnson said.

Chris Washburn was 2 for 2 at the line against Texas.

Barnes’ compliment

Texas coach Rick Barnes complimented the work TCU has put into Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center as a temporary home, and he said he’s looking forward to seeing the renovated Daniel-Meyer Coliseum next year.

“I’m really excited about seeing the facility a year from now, because I love construction like that,” he said. “I know it’s going to be a great building.”

Barnes said he is happy to see it happening for Johnson and the Frogs.

“I’m excited for Trent and TCU,” Barnes said. “Before the game, he was just terrific about how excited he is to be here, and you know they’re doing everything they can.”

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez