Frogs Today weekly newsletter: TCU men are 10-1 but need to get Mike Miles Jr. in a groove in final Big 12 tuneup

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Mike Miles Jr. missed the Frogs’ game Dec. 21 with an illness, and TCU would like him to get rolling again against Texas Southern (The Associated Press/Tony Gutierrez).

By Jeff Wilson
Frogs Today senior writer

FORT WORTH — After 11 games it’s safe to say that the transfer portal has done wonders for the TCU men’s basketball team.

The Horned Frogs are better than they were a year ago with a team that saw seven players transfer out. Eight came in, seven of them from the portal, and they have made the Frogs bigger, longer, more athletic and deeper.

They will enter their final tuneup for Big 12 play at 3 p.m. Wednesday at 10-1 and will  head to Kansas on New Year’s Day with an 11-1 record if they can dispatch Texas Southern in the matinee.

Texas Southern is only 2-7, but one of those wins was by 15 points at Florida. The Tigers’ coach is Johnny Jones, the former North Texas and LSU coach.

The goal for TCU is to win while getting sophomore guard Mike Miles Jr. back in the flow. He sat out the Dec. 21 win over Grambling with an illness, as did forward Xavier Cook with a foot injury, but neither were missed in the 90-55 blowout. Four players scored in double figures, led by a game-high 19 points from Chuck O’Bannon Jr. and 18 more from Emanuel Miller.

Damion Baugh added 13 points and doled out 11 assists. He makes the Frogs better offensively as their point guard and is their best on-ball defender.

Miles is TCU’s best player.

He has scored in double-digits in all of his games this season, including a season-high 28 against Utah and 20 at Georgetown two games later. He averages 16.9 points a game, which is tied for third in the conference.

The TCU women (4-4) also open conference play this weekend, also against Kansas, but at 1 p.m.  Sunday at Schollmaier Arena.

Football Friday

The Sonny Dykes Era of TCU football will begin in the national spotlight, under the Friday Night Lights at Colorado.

Dykes’ first game as coach is set for Sept. 2, 2022, a day earlier than originally scheduled, at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo. It will mark the first time someone other than Gary Patterson has opened a season as coach since 2000.

The Frogs and Buffaloes have never played each other. TCU will have to deal with the higher altitude, as it did at numerous spots in the Mountain West Conference nearly a decade ago, and players better be on alert as Ralphie the buffalo charges down the visiting sideline before the game.

Fun fact: Ralphie is a female.

Another fun fact: My dad, a Colorado student, was arrested during a CU home game in 1970 for throwing ice on/toward the field after a questionable call by the refs. Knowing my dad, the refs were probably right. He threw ice right in front of one of Boulder’s finest, and was quickly escorted out of the stadium.

At least that’s how the story goes.

Colorado will visit Amon G. Carter Stadium in 2023 to complete a home-and-home series. The Buffs were a dreadful 4-8 in 2021.

Coaches hired

For the first time at Frogs Today, there is coaching news that doesn’t involve the football team. I think this accomplishment comes with a badge of some sort.

Athletic director Jeremiah Donati wrapped up department business before Christmas by hiring Jason Williams as volleyball coach, replacing Jill Kramer, and Jenny Garrison as the first coach for the start-up women’s triathlon squad.

Williams comes from Baylor, where he was associate head coach for the Big 12 runners-up. Baylor went 20-5 this season and received a sixth consecutive at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, which was won by Wisconsin.

Williams spent seven seasons with the Bears.

Garrison has experience launching a program. She started triathlon at Division III North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) after a 15-year career as a professional triathlete that included competing for Team USA at multiple world championships.

As a coach, she guided North Central College to three straight national championships from  2017 to 2019. A North Central competitor has won the past four individual national titles, including Hailey Poe in 2021 as the Cardinals finished third in the country.

TCU will be one of nine Division I triathlon teams.

A competition features individuals competing in three disciplines: a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike and a 5K run. Arizona State won its fifth consecutive national title last month.

Lighter side

It’s time to laugh, and made cringe. See you next week.

Bad golf shot: Bad ideas are fairly common at the local golf muni. Slicers insist on hitting driver with a lake or out-of-bounds down the right side. Just about everyone can see an opening to the green from deep in the woods. These numbskulls saw themselves going viral. They have, for the wrong reason. Break a leg!

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Any landing is a good landing: When you’re a beat writer for a major-league baseball team, you hit the friendly skies a lot. I’m not sure how many miles I’ve flown in my 14 seasons on the Texas Rangers beat, but it’s a big number. Seeing the video below makes me wonder how many times one of my flights has hit the ground pointed sideways. I probably don’t want to know.


Speaking of baseball …: It’s being played in the Caribbean while MLB’s owners and players spat over a new collective bargaining agreement. Last week in a game in Mexico, things got interesting with the umpiring crew. One of them was hammered. The other members of the crew suspected he was drunk (they had to know, right?) and had him removed from the field after, among other things, he flipped off some fans. Take a look.

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