Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) tangles with TCU center Karviar Shepherd (14) while chasing a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Conference tournament at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, March 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

When TCU entered the Big 12 Conference in 2012, nobody said it would be an easy road. The men’s basketball team may have struggled in its first few years in the conference, but the Frogs have been inching in the right direction, highlighted by a 13-0 start to last year’s campaign.

The Frogs look to continue to establish themselves as a legitimate force in the Big 12, and they must rely on strong performances from several players this season to make their case. With the 2015-2016 campaign just over a week away, now is a good time to take a look at who may be the x-factor(s) for the Frogs this season.

Karviar Shepard – Forward

With a height of 6 ft. 10 in., it’s not hard to spot junior Karviar Shepard on the court. The forward from Dallas was one of the top rebounders for the Frogs last season, averaging 5.2 rebounds per game. Shepard finished 15th in the Big 12 in offensive rebounds and 14th in defensive rebounds.

With Kenrich Williams, who led the Frogs in rebounds last season, out for the year after undergoing offseason knee surgery, it will be critical for Shepard to continue his success and lead the charge for the Frogs in rebounding department.

Shepard is also one of the more experienced players on this year’s squad, having started all 33 contests in the last season. With eight players from last year’s squad leaving TCU due to graduation or transfers, Shepard’s leadership will be a valuable asset for him and the team.

Brandon Parrish – Guard

The junior from Arlington did not get the same time on the court as others did last season after only starting the first 16 games before coming off the bench. Like Shepard, though, Parish enters this season as one of the more mature and experienced players for the Frogs due to all the roster changes that occurred since March.

While Parrish was eventually removed from the starting lineup, he did see minutes in all 33 games last season. Parrish has the ability to score too, having dropped 22 points against New Orleans early on last season.

Parish also recorded 11 points in contests against Big 12 opponents West Virginia and Iowa State. By the end of the season, he had totaled six double digit outings.

With the lack of experience for many players on the Frogs roster this season, expect Parrish to step up his game even further and become one of the leading scorers in the 2015-16 campaign.

Vladimir Brodziansky – Forward

The sophomore from Slovakia enters his first season with the Frogs, having transferred in from Pratt Community College in Pratt, Kansas. At 6 ft. 10 in., Brodziansky proved during his time at Pratt that he is a dual threat by averaging 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game during his freshman year.

Brodziansky is labeled a three star prospect and rated No. 21 in the nation among all junior college prospects. Brodziansky has potential to not only give the Frogs a boost on both sides of the ball but also provide a bright outlook for the teams future, with two more seasons of eligibility under his belt after this year’s campaign. Expect Brodziansky to become a new household name for the Frogs in the time to come.

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Dean Straka is a senior journalism major from Lake Forest, California. He currently serves as Sports Line Editor for TCU 360. His passions include golf, God, traveling, and sitting down to watch the big game of the day. Follow him on Twitter at @dwstraka49