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Men's basketball media day: Frogs faster, more physical

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(TCU360/Maddi Bruton)

(TCU360/Maddi Bruton)

On Tuesday, the TCU men’s basketball team held its media day in the Moncrief Club.

“We’re more skilled,” TCU head coach Trent Johnson said. “We pass it [and] we shoot it better.”

Along with Johnson, freshman center Karviar Shepherd and senior guard Jarvis Ray were available for questions.

“On the court, we push each other, and we never take anything personally,” Ray said. “We’re more physical, faster, [and] we compete really hard."

Ray emerged as a starting guard last season before breaking his foot before the start of the Big 12 schedule.

“I do have a chip on my shoulder,” Ray said. “I feel like I haven’t played in so long, and I feel like I have something to prove.”

The 6’10" Shepherd is the highest-rated prospect to ever sign with TCU.

“I’ve been really, really impressed,” Ray said. “Sometimes [Shepherd] says things to me, and I feel like he’s older than me.”

Shepherd said his leadership skills naturally transferred over from high school.

“I feel like the season will be better,” Shepherd said. “Coming out of high school, I was a leader so there wasn’t much I had to change…we push each other hard.”

The Frogs finished with an 11-21 record last season, including 2-16 in conference play during their first year in the Big 12.

“We’ve got a ways to go,” Johnson “Let’s be honest about that, we have a ways to go. We’re not vocal enough.”

Johnson did praise the coachability and competitiveness of his team though.

“The most impressive thing about this group is they’re very coachable,” Johnson said. “[They’re] very, very competitive in their own way.”

Johnson also said that 2011 Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year Amric Fields has not returned from injury yet.

“Amric has had a series of setbacks," Johnson said. "Bottom line is he looks good physically. His spirits are up.”

Fields, a forward from Oklahoma City, Okla., missed most of last season after tearing his ACL against the SMU Mustangs in mid-November. The 6’9" junior averaged 8.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game through just over two full seasons at TCU.

“This game is hard enough to play if you’re completely healthy,” Johnson said. “He’s got a ways to go, but his spirits are up.”

Johnson also mentioned that the eligibility of sophomore forward Chris Washburn is still up in the air.

“We’re waiting on the NCAA obviously,” Johnson said. “We thought we’d of heard something prior to this week, but we haven’t.”

TCU will play Arkansas-Fort Smith in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. Friday in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum before opening its regular season against SMU at the American Airlines Center Nov. 8.

“We need to play well, and we need to win,” Johnson said.

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