If TCU fans haven’t already realized it, they’ll realize it next winter when Amric Fields is a year older, a year stronger, and a year wiser.
Fields shouldn’t just playing for a Big 12 school, he should be starting for a Big 12 school.
Fields is just that good. An All-Stater in high school, the Oklahoma City native simply wanted to get out of his home state and stay out of the limelight. That’s why Fields committed to the Frogs in October of 2009 before his Senior season in high school even began.
At the time, perhaps only Jim Christian knew what a steal he was getting in the 6’9” forward.
Fields, who plays in the mold of a Kevin Durant, is long, lanky and has an outside jump shot to go with his ability to drive to the rim. He showed both of those aspects on several occasions this year with the Frogs, but two things kept Fields from fully breaking out his Freshman season: Inexperience on defense and hesitancy on offense.
Playing defense at the collegiate level is something most high school players have a hard time adjusting to and it was a big reason Field’s playing time was limited early in the season, which was fine with Christian who expressed several times his discomfort with playing Fields too much as a Freshman.
As for his hesitancy on offense, that too had to deal with transitioning from the high school to college game. At times, Fields was either unsure or uneasy about putting up a shot or driving to the rim against a guy just as athletic as him, something he probably never saw in high school.
But when Fields did begin to assert himself and free up a bit more on the court he showed he has the shooting ability to make mid range jumpers with ease and the athletic ability to go up over defenders for dunks and putbacks.
Fields will get stronger, better, and more confident by the start of next year so look for him to become an even more integral piece in the TCU offense and perhaps even a second scoring option to Ronnie Moss.
Thorns is another guy who a lot of people may not realize how big it was the TCU was able to get him. Thorns wasn’t getting starter’s minutes at Virginia Tech and was looking to transfer. Somehow, Christian swayed the point guard to Fort Worth and after sitting out a year, Thorns’ impact was felt immediately this year.
The Las Vegas native averaged 7.0 assists per game and was a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award (nation’s best point guard) in first season with the Frogs. He controlled the pace of the offense the whole season and after Sammy Yeager was kicked off and Moss suspended, Thorns proved to be a reliable scoring option finishing the year averaging 10.7 points per game.
Stats aside, though, Thorns was the floor general for this TCU team when no one else could step up. Thorns led the team like a fifth year Senior, not a first year transfer. He called and setup plays and played bigger than his 5’9” frame on defense.
Rebuilding a program, like Christian is trying to do here at TCU, is hard. But it’s a little less hard when you have a legitimate, pass-first point guard like Thorns running the offense.
Kone, a 6’10” Sophomore from Mali via Howard Junior College, saw limited action in eight games this year. Kone is big, but he’s not going to be a starter someday and he may never even see consistent minutes as a Frog.
But what I saw out of Kone this year, I liked.
He’s a happy-go-lucky kind of guy on the bench and in pregame warmups but Kone wasn’t afraid to knock some heads and throw some bodies around when he got in the game.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Kone is bigger than most guys TCU will go up against in a season so it never hurts to have a big man come off your bench and get physical or rattle someone a little bit.
Cheick Kone the scorer? Probably not. Cheick Kone the intimidator? Maybe.
Haven’t seen much action out of Bavcevic to determine what his role could be next year but the word on the 6’0” guard when he came to TCU from Croatia in the spring of 2009 was that he could shoot.
Only Christian knows what he’s truly capable of, but if Bavcevic could needle his way into the usual rotation players for next year he might be able to find a role similar to Greg Hill’s was before the Yeager and Moss incidents.
Granted, Hill was more of a pure scorer and probably the better athlete than Bavcevic is, but his role at the beginning of the season was an outside shooter.
Thorns was the passer, Moss was the scorer, Yeager was the second option, and Hill was the three point specialist (relatively speaking, of course).
But Hill is gone and someone has to somewhat fill that role for next year. Check the TCU roster and Bavcevic may be the only option to do so.