Thursday, February 10, 2011

TCU Basketball: Is there a solution?

After a strong start, TCU Men's Basketball has yet again sunk into the depths of loserdom. The Frogs have lost 11 of their last 12 games and are 1-9 in MWC play. The MWC has two of the Nation's best Basketball teams in BYU and San Diego State, as well as quality teams in New Mexico, Utah, and UNLV (who beat TCU just yesterday). However that is no excuse for TCU's sub-par play. The Frogs will be entering the Nation's best Basketball conference, hands down, in 2012, and if we ever want to be competitive, something has got to change.

In a time gone by, (the late 90s) TCU Basketball was actually something that Frog fans could be proud of. But when Coach Billy Tubbs was fired in favor of Neil Dougherty, our Basketball program was effectively sentenced to death. Dougherty's complete inability to recruit coupled with a total lack of offense sent the program into a downward spiral. Jim Christian has since been hired to try and salvage the mess that is our basketball team.

Considering a sever lack of tools, Christian has actually manage to recruit a few halfway decent players. This year's team is certainly more talented than past years with players like Hank Thorns, Garlon Green, and Ronnie Moss (who is now suspended indefinitely). Yet the mediocrity continues.

As I see it, there are three main problems facing this program:
1. Recruiting: What makes recruiting so hard at TCU is that fan support for the Basketball team has become virtually non-existent from years of losing. Regardless of how good facilities are, quality players don't want to play in an empty home coliseum. Also, fans don't want to pack the house to watch a proven loser. It's a cycle that somehow needs to be broken for our program to improve. 
2. Depth: This also goes back to recruiting. This year in particular, we have a few good starters, but no quality 6th men. Another huge problem, (no pun intended), is a sever lack of a big man. TCU has not had a good big man since the Tubbs era. Kevin Langford was good a few years ago, but at 6-8, he still didn't take up very much space in the paint. 
3. Stupid Mistakes: This is most likely due to a coaching disconnect or lack of player motivation. Missing easy shots and lackluster defense are huge examples of this. Where our offense has improved somewhat under Christian, our defense has sucked. The first example that comes to my mind with missing shots came at home against Air Force on Jan. 29th. TCU took the game into OT against a poor Air Force team. Down by one point with 3 seconds left, Greg Hill missed a wide open LAYUP! TCU lost the game with Air Force breaking their 20 game road losing streak. Inexcusable. 

It's hard to explain why our Basketball team has had the wheels come off after beating teams like USC and Texas Tech early in the season. TCU was putting up scores like 99-72 and 96-79 and only lost to last year's Cinderella UNI by 4 points. Now we are missing game winning shots and at times barely breaking the 50 point plateau. 

As I said before, something has to change, and Christian may not be the man for the job. We need a coach that can get players to believe. If someone could get one really good player to come in with some role players, it could be enough to garner fan support and start our program on the track to relevance again. In my opinion, if Christian can't get us above .500 in the next 2 years, we will need to look elsewhere. 

We know a turnaround is possible. If Franchione was able to take our Football team from losers to bowl competitors in one year, it can certainly be done in basketball. Supposedly Bill Gillispie has shown interest in coaching at TCU. FOR GOD'S SAKES HIRE THE MAN!! He has turned around Texas A&M and UTEP in one year and now A&M is a perennial contender. I don't care about supposed disconnects with players, that's BS. The man can recruit and the man can win, and that's a heck of a lot more than anyone has done at TCU in a good 12 years.  

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