TCU men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon described it as a different world in college basketball. The days of student-athletes staying four years and developing within a program appear to be a thing of the past.
Instead, it’s all about landing transfers and bringing in players who may have been developed elsewhere. Dixon feels his staff has done a good job of playing the new “game” of building rosters on an annual basis this offseason.
TCU has seen eight players (including two walk-ons) from last season’s team enter the NCAA transfer portal. However, that turnover has allowed the Frogs to rebuild his roster by adding more experienced players.
Asked if the overall roster has improved, Dixon smiled and said: “I think you always believe that. As a coach, you always believe that.”
Dixon then jokingly asked members of the media to weigh in, marking the first time any coach has cared about what yours truly had to say.
But there’s no question TCU has gotten older with players such as Damion Baugh, who played the last two seasons at Memphis, and Maxwell Evans, a four-year player at Vanderbilt.
Texas Tech transfer Micah Peavy is the prized offseason acquisition as he was one of the top prospects coming out of Duncanville in 2020.
Dixon is also excited about a player such as Xavier Cork (Western Carolina), a Sulphur Springs native who has developed since leaving high school. Similar things can be said about UT Arlington transfer Shahada Wells, who averaged 16.8 points a game last season.
“The challenge is the Big 12. It’s hard to succeed right away,” Dixon said. “As you see in the league, the oldest teams win. This league has managed to stay older for this stretch and that’s what we’re doing here.”
As far as the number of players who left the program, Dixon downplayed any concern on that front.
“There’s different situations, things we can’t speak on, but you’re seeing it everywhere,” Dixon said. “If everyone is dealing with it, why would I be concerned? It’s just the way it is.
“We’re excited about the guys we’ve got coming in.”
Asked specifically about Peavy, Dixon said: “The great thing about Micah is he plays so hard and is such a hard worker. He’s so athletic, so physical that he can get to the basket. Getting him on the perimeter, getting him more comfortable shooting the ball, getting out in transition, all of it is something he’s excited about.”
Nembhard, Samuel are all-in
Junior guard RJ Nembhard and junior center Kevin Samuel are both testing the NBA Draft waters this offseason. As of now, Dixon is preparing as though they won’t be returning for their senior seasons.
Dixon described both having an “all-in” mindset when it comes to pursuing a professional career.
“They’re all-in. I’m not trying to hold them back,” Dixon said. “You don’t want to say they’re not going to make it. We don’t judge it. We just support them.”
Dixon estimated that 250 players from college basketball are entering the draft, or at least testing the waters. That number doesn’t include international players. There are still only 60 spots in the draft, of course.
As Dixon said, “Every kid wants to be in the NBA.”
TCU sophomore guard Francisco Farabello played in only nine games last season. He was sidelined the last two-plus months of the season due to a medical issue discovered through advanced COVID-19 testing protocols.
Farabello has been officially cleared, though. Dixon said Farabello is able to work out with the team once again.
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