Head Coach Dixon throws up horned frog
Head Coach Dixon thows up horned frog during the Alma Mater after the Texas Christian University v.s. University of Texas at Austin basketball game on Sunday, March 7th at Ed and Rae Schollmaier arena. (Esau Rodriguez Olvera / Staff Photographer)

This Thursday marks the tip-off of TCU men’s basketball season against McNeese State and serves as a fresh start for both head coach Jamie Dixon and the program as a whole.

The team have added eight transfer players to a program that saw all but four players from last season either transfer, head to the NBA, or graduate. TCU suffered its first losing season in the Jamie Dixon era last season, with a record of 12-14 in the shortened season due to COVID-19 restrictions. With sporting events back at full capacity and the first full season in nearly two years, TCU looks to bounce back to form with its new roster of returning veterans and transfers.

“College basketball is different, college athletics is different. COVID-19 has changed so many things not only on the floor but in life,” head coach Jamie Dixon said, who had a chance to run a full training camp for the first time in years.

The struggles of the Frogs were frequent last season, including many upsets, highlighted by a home loss to a then 2-13 Kansas State team. TCU finished eighth in the Big 12 and ranked near the bottom in both total offense and defense. This string of poor performances and play on top of the changes due to COVID-19 saw TCU miss both the NCAA and the NIT tournaments for the second year in a row.

The mass exodus of Frogs left the team with only a few returning players on the roster. With starters like PJ Fuller going to Washington and center Kevin Samuel transferring to Florida Gulf Coast, TCU had to use swift recruiting tactics and crafty transfers to completely rebuild the team from the ground up.

“We’ve got transfers, we got new players, it’s just the new world and I’m embracing it and I’m excited about it,” Dixon said on Tuesday to the media.

Some notable additions to the program include junior forward Emanuel Miller from Texas A&M, who led the SEC in field goal percentage (57%) and averaged 16.2 points and eight rebounds per game. The team also added sophomore Texas Tech transfer Micah Peavy, who was the No. 2 ranked high school player in Texas his senior year in high school.

The influx of five other transfers on top of returning players like Mike Miles Jr., who was an All-Big 12 honorable mention last season, makes for a strong starting team to begin the season.

“We’ve gotten better defensively – defensively we have to be amongst the best in the league, if you’re gonna be at the top of the league,” Dixon said regarding his expectations for the season.

Fans were able to see the team play last Thursday in a purple vs white scrimmage game and a dunk contest, where new players got to show their talents and returning players showed their polish and improvement.

McNeese State finished 6-16 last season with offensive and defensive rankings near the bottom of NCAA men’s basketball. TCU is the favorite with a 95% likelihood of winning, according to ESPN.

The Cowboys have already tipped their season off, falling to SMU 86-62 on Tuesday.

Tip-off for the Frogs against McNeese State is 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11 at Schollmaier Arena. The game will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

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