Season kicks off for men's basketball

Men's basketball gets ready for upcoming season

Head coach Trent Johnson gives instructions to the team during a team practice on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Photo by Taylor Prater. Senior forward Adrick McKinney gets into the competitive spirit during a team practice on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Photo by Taylor Prater. Junior guard Thomas Montigel breaks out from the defense during a team practice on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Photo by Taylor Prater. Sophomore forward Devonta Abron, left, and senior forward Connell Crossland take a break before the next round of exercises during a team practice on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Photo by Taylor Prater. Senior forward Garlon Green (33) warms up with senior forward Adrick McKinney during a team practice on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Photo by Taylor Prater. The TCU men's basketball team huddles together before the start of team practice on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Photo by Taylor Prater. Junior guard Jarvis Ray prepares for the next round of exercises during a team practice on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Photo by Taylor Prater. Head coach Trent Johnson speaks with media during a team practice on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Photo by Taylor Prater. Senior forward Connell Crossland leads the line during a team practice on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Photo by Taylor Prater. Sophomore forward Devonta Abron leads the line during a team practice on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Photo by Taylor Prater.
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TCU men's basketball team starts off practice with a few exercise drills. Video by Taylor Prater.

The TCU men’s basketball team had its first official practice of the 2012-13 season Friday under new head coach Trent Johnson.

“I’m always excited whether it’s the first day or the last day,” Johnson said in reference to the start of the season. “I’m always excited. They’re [the players are] excited which is probably more important.”

The team had unofficial practice sessions over the summer where they implemented the offense and worked on individual skills, he said.

Once school began, the Frogs started focusing on defense which, Johnson said, will win the team games.

“These guys have a great idea what they need to work on individually, what we need to work on collectively,” he said.

Here are some highlights from the first day of practice: 

The makeup of the team

The Frogs added six players to their roster including University of Arkansas transfer Devonta Abron. Abron was granted a transfer eligibility waiver in September.

He competed at a high level in the SEC and has been “battle tested,” Johnson said.

Abron, a Dallas native, averaged 5.7 points and 4.2 boards per game for the Razorbacks. He played in all 32 games and started 22 of them. 

Johnson said he would have a better idea of what the rest of the team can do in three weeks after they scrimmage other teams “behind closed doors.”

The coaches have thrown a lot of the new things at the team, but they don’t want the players to be in a situation where they think instead of react, Johnson said.

“They (the players) know there’s a sense of urgency in everything we do, everything I ask them to do, but being able to react is going to take some time,” he said.

Preseason rankings

The Frogs were picked to finish last in the Big 12 by the conference coaches in the preseason conference poll. This isn’t a big concern to coach Johnson.

“I’ve never got caught up in predictions,” he said. “I don’t worry about all that. All I know is it’s where you finish. That’s the most important thing.”

The team needs to focus on how hard they work each day before they worry about where they are ranked, he said.

“I worry about what we can control,” Johnson said. “I worry about how good we can be right now. If you do that, you play to your strengths, you will be as good as you can be.”

Team Leadership

Johnson said he hasn’t thought about who will be the team leaders. Leaders emerge by being socially, academically and athletically responsible every day, Johnson said. 

Voting for captains could occur a week before the first game or the day before the first game, he said. 

“Right now our sole concentration has been on competing,” Johnson said. “Learning how to compete, fight through things.”

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