A transition of head coaches, defeating some of the top-ranking teams in the conference, breaking records – it’s been quite a year for TCU’s men’s basketball team. Now the Frogs are chasing for the title at the NIT Championship on Thursday night. Let’s look back at nine of our favorite moments from the season.
1. Jamie Dixon’s first day
The former TCU basketball player is back on the team – but this time as the head coach. Dixon was hired to shape up a struggling program, which was just coming off a 12-21 season.
2. Brandon Parrish: Rhino Whisperer
Basketball isn’t the only thing TCU’s star athlete Brandon Parrish loves. The 6-foot-6 giant has a second love – rhinos. When Parrish isn’t sinking 3’s and taking down top-ranked teams, he’s helping the cause of rhino conservation through TCU’s Rhino Initiative.
3. Beating BOTH Oklahoma and Iowa State
TCU isn’t the same team we’ve come to know. Last year, TCU beating Oklahoma or Iowa State was almost unthinkable. But this year, the Frogs defeated the Cyclones 84-77 on Jan. 14 (giving the Frogs their first winning record in the Big 12) and later the Sooners 82-63 in the opening game of the Big 12 Tournament.
4. Knocking No. 1 Kansas out of the Big 12 Championship Tournament
In an unbelievable upset, TCU took down No.1-seeded Kansas in a last-minute win, beating the Jayhawks 85-82 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament. Desmond Bane sank three free throws with 2.5 seconds left, helping TCU claim victory.
5. Free basketball at the NIT
During the second game of the NIT, TCU had a two-point lead until Iowa’s Tyler Cook sunk a layup, tying the game and sending it into overtime. The Frogs never lost their lead, however, and won 94-92, advancing them to the NIT quarterfinals.
6. Dominating Richmond to reach the NIT semifinals
For the second time in school history, the Frogs advanced to the semifinals of the NIT after defeating Richmond – a game which the Frogs never lost control, winning 86-68. And it just so happened to fall on the one-year anniversary of Dixon’s hiring.
7. The birth of “Kenny Hustle”
Kenrich Williams has proudly taken on the nickname "Kenny Hustle" for his – well, hustle. Coming off a knee injury last season, Williams returned to become the leading rebounder in the Big 12 this year. The 6-foot-7 junior recorded the second triple-double in TCU history during the game against Richmond, with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.
8. Dixon’s tribute to his late sister
After arriving in New York for the NIT, Dixon’s first stop with the team was West Point Military Academy – not just to practice, but also pay tribute to Dixon’s late sister Maggie. Here, Maggie Dixon was head coach of the women’s basketball team and led the team to its first NCAA appearance in 2006 before she died a month later. Before the team hit the court for the UCF game, Jamie Dixon wanted to share her legacy with his players.
9. That time the Frogs made the championship
After defeating UCF 68-53 in the NIT semifinals, the Frogs made it, ready to face Georgia Tech at 7 p.m. in Madison Square Garden.