Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
In the ever changing world of college conferences, the TCU Horned Frogs make the leap from the Mountain West Conference to the Big 12. They were originally supposed to head to the Big East but instead decided to stay in a more regional-friendly conference when the Big 12 lost Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC. It will certainly be an uphill climb for TCU and their new head coach, Trent Johnson.
TCU HORNED FROGS
Last Season: 5th, 7-7 in Mountain West, 18-15 overall
Predicted Big 12 Finish: 10th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Adrick McKinney (Sr)/Aaron Durley (Fr)
PF: Amric Fields (Jr)/Connell Crossland (Sr)
SF: Garlon Green (Sr)/Jarvis Ray (Jr)
SG: Nate Butler (Sr)/Charles Hill (Fr)
PG: Kyan Anderson (So)/Christian Gore (So)/Clyde Smith (Fr)
Gone: G/F-J.R. Cadot, PG-Hank Thorns, PF-Craig Williams
The Horned Frogs lose their top two leading scorers from last season but do return six players who started at least eight games a year ago. That group will be anchored by point guard Kyan Anderson who was named MWC Freshman of the Year last season.
Likely to join him in the starting backcourt will be either Nate Butler or Jarvis Ray who was academically ineligible for the second semester meaning he didn’t suit up in conference play. Neither player is a dynamic scorer which will put even more pressure on Anderson. Freshmen Charles Hill and Clyde Smith will compete for playing time off the bench as will Brown transfer Christian Gore who doesn’t become eligible until the second semester.
After a breakout sophomore season, Garlon Green took a step back as a junior partially because he didn’t shoot the ball well from distance. Still, he is the Horned Frogs’ top returning scorer and will need to help pick up the slack left behind by J.R. Cadot and Hank Thorns. If Butler, Ray, or the three new guards are not the answer at the two, don’t be surprised to see the Horned Frogs use a bigger line-up with Green playing some two guard.
The frontcourt lacks a lot of depth but does return three players who saw significant minutes. Amric Fields was the MWC Sixth Man of the Year and utilizes his inside/outside ability on the offensive end and length on the glass and boards. Adrian McKinney is a solid complement to Fields due to his strength and physicality in the paint. Connell Crossland is more of a combo forward but has a knack for cleaning up the glass. He will give TCU a more athletic lineup when he is on the floor.
Originally a Marquette commit, Aaron Durley provides some size off the bench. He was a reserve in high school playing behind highly-touted Texas recruit, Cameron Ridley so it will be interesting to see how ready Durley will be to play against Big 12 competition.
TCU also picked up a commitment from Arkansas transfer and Dallas native Devonta Abron. Per NCAA rules, he must sit out the 2012-13 season but will add even more physicality inside once he becomes eligible and will have three years to suit up with the Horned Frogs.
Even though LSU struggled under Johnson the past three seasons, TCU made a nice hire by getting Johnson to lead the Horned Frogs into their transition to the Big 12. For the immediate future; Johnson won’t have the talent to be a real threat in the conference. What kind of impact he can make on the recruiting trail could very well be just as big of a challenge as what the Horned Frogs will face on the court this season.
Player to Watch: Kyan Anderson
Even though he will only be a sophomore, Anderson is really the only proven scorer in the TCU backcourt. Consistency was an issue for him during his freshman campaign and simply put; he will need to be reliable every night as both a scorer and distributor for the Horned Frogs to be competitive.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/23-24 vs. Northwestern/UAB/Illinois State (South Padre Invitational)
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Follow paulmbanks