TCU basketball begins the season as a sleeper team in the Big 12.
A very deep bench has TCU basketball in the talks for a good Big 12 finish, something they’ve struggled to do in the Jamie Dixon era. Last season the Horned Frogs went 12-14 (5-11), but the team turnaround was as big as any in the country. This isn’t the same TCU team as last season, with one big exception – star sophomore Mike Miles Jr.
— TCU Basketball (@TCUBasketball) August 29, 2021
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PG: Mike Miles Jr. (6-2, 195, So.)
2021 stats: 13.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 36.0 3P%
Projected stats: 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 38.0 3P%
SG: Micah Peavy (6-7, 215, So.)
2021 stats: 5.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.6 steals (Texas Tech)
Projected stats: 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals
SF: Chuck O’Bannon Jr. (6-6, 215, Rs.-Sr.)
2021 stats: 6.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 36.8 3P%
Projected stats: 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 34.0 3P%
PF: Emanuel Miller (6-7, 215, Jr.)
2021 stats: 16.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals (Texas A&M)
Projected stats: 12.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals
C: Souleymane Doumbia (7-0, 220, Jr.)
247Sports 4th ranked JUCO prospect
Projected stats: 3.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.4 blocks
6: Shahada Wells (6-0, 180, Sr.)
2021 stats: 16.8 points, 3.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 39.3 3P% (UT-Arlington)
Projected stats: 11.0 points, 2.5 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 40.5 3P%
7: Francisco Farabello (6-3, 178, Jr.)
2021 stats: 5.3 points, 2.3 assists, 1.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 44.8 3P%
Projected stats: 6.5 points, 3.0 assists, 1.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 43.0 3P%
8: Xavier Cork (6-9, 228, Jr.)
2021 stats: 12.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 blocks (Western Carolina)
Projected stats: 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.9 blocks
9: Maxwell Evans (6-2, 200, Sr.)
2021 stats: 8.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 35.4 3P% (Vanderbilt)
Projected stats: 4.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 36.5 3P%
10: Damion Baugh (6-4, 195, Jr.)
2021 stats: 3.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals (Memphis)
Projected stats: 2.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals
11: JaKobe Coles (6-7, 225, So.)
2021 stats: 6.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 6 GP (Butler)
Projected stats: 1.5 points, 1.0 rebounds
Team MVP: Mike Miles Jr.
Miles was one of the top freshmen in the Big 12 a season ago and looks to rise up the ladders even more. Jamie Dixon brought in a whole lot of transfers which could impact some of the players’ individual outputs, but not Miles. The way he played his freshmen season, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t crack one of the All-Big 12 teams by season’s end.
Miles drives hard to the bucket, utilizes his mid-range game, and has a good enough three-point shot to keep defenders guessing. He plays hard on defense and that translates into points. I could rave on and on about Miles because if TCU basketball goes anywhere this season, we’ll be looking to Miles Jr. as the reason why.
Make-or-Break Player: Souleymane Doumbia
TCU basketball will be able to survive without Doumbia, but he’s the one clear choice at center unless Dixon wants to play small ball. Emanuel Miller is a really good rebounder, but there’s just something about starting a 6-foot-7 big instead of a 7-footer.
Doumbia is a JUCO product, so he is a work in progress. At Navarro, he averaged 10.4 points and 6.9 rebounds last season. He was a freshman last season, so this offseason will show if he’s ready yet for a power conference.
If Doumbia is set to start for TCU, he doesn’t need to be anything more than a 20-25 minute per game type of player. However, he’d give the Horned Frogs a monster down low, which would round out their starting five to a crisp.
Bench Rating: 9/10
The TCU basketball bench is what will make this team compete with more talented opposing starting fives. Shahada Wells could be a starter, but I like his scoring outbursts coming off the bench, with the opportunity to be in the end during close games.
Farabello and Cork give TCU two very good players to make for a solid 8-man team. Evans, Baugh, and Coles make it even more difficult for Dixon to come up with an everyday rotation. As long as the team is able to adapt to it, I can see the rotation changing from game to game because all of these players could deserve 10 minutes of playing time per game.
Analytic to Know: Adjusted Temp
Last season, TCU ranked near the bottom of the NCAA in adjusted tempo (248th). Baylor was ranked 213th, so it can be done, but only if you have some very efficient offensive players.
This season, the addition of Wells could make TCU basketball more guard-oriented, and given his high-tempo style of play, at least allows for the Horned Frogs to play a different style of basketball. UT-Arlington ranked 118th in AdjT, and Wells was one of the quicker players on the team.
Even with all of this depth I still see TCU basketball as a young team one year away from really shining under the bright lights. I can see them losing some games they shouldn’t, but Miles Jr. will also win some big games for TCU.
One player that I didn’t list in the rotation is Eddie Lampkin. He played very sparingly last season as a freshman but was a 4-star recruit. There’s a good chance he can play a lot of minutes, which would of course shuffle around the rotation even more for TCU. Can they play 12 men? It’s a possibility.
Micah Peavy and Chuck O’Bannon Jr. will be nice complements to Miles Jr. and Miller will be the main guy down low. The starting five for TCU is lightyears ahead of where it was last season, so Horned Frogs fans should be very excited about the season at hand.