TCU Men's Basketball Season Preview - Part II
Nov. 1, 2007
This will be the second of five installments of the TCU men's basketball preview for the upcoming 2007-08 season with this edition focusing on the trio of juniors set for action this campaign.
With the Horned Frogs set to play their first exhibition game of the season on November 6th against LCC International University, the TCU men's basketball preview will feature the players who bring experience and leadership to the court; those looking to make a name for themselves; and those to keep an eye for the Purple and White in the upcoming campaign.
Big Things Expected for TCU Juniors in Dougherty's Master Plan
When detours and alternative routes throw a monkey wrench into the master plan, the question quickly becomes - what are we going to do next? What are we going to do to make the best of the situation? What are we going to do to make the most of the new opportunity that is presented to us? How are we going to learn from our past obstacles in order to succeed in our future endeavors?
That's the story of three juniors - Kevin Langford (Fort Worth, TX/University of California), Henry Salter (Gulfport, MS/Mississippi Gulf Coast College) and John Ortiz (Cali, Colombia/Colby Community College) - that will all be looked upon to play a big role in TCU head men's basketball coach Neil Dougherty's master plan for the Horned Frogs during the 2007-08 campaign.
The Horned Frog trio each started their collegiate basketball careers at different universities and junior colleges before transferring to TCU to play under the tutelage of Dougherty. Now - while they all might have started their careers on different roads, their detours all lead them down the same road and could lead the Purple and White to a successful 2007-08 season.
Langford enters his second season under Dougherty and returns as the Horned Frogs' top scorer as he averaged a team-high 13.2 points per game a season ago. The 6-8 forward was the king of the mountain in several areas for the Horned Frogs in his first campaign with the squad as he led the team in field goals made (136), field goal attempts (294), free throws made (111), free throw attempts (197), total rebounds (180), rebounds per game (6.0), minutes played (947), minutes per game (31.6) and total points (397).
An honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference selection as a sophomore, Langford started all 30 games for the Horned Frogs a season ago where he collected 22 double-digit scoring performances, including five contests of 20 or more points. He recorded double digits in 12 of 16 Mountain West Conference games and notched all five of his 20-plus scoring performances in the final 10 games against conference foes.
The TCU junior recorded his first career double-double against The University of Texas-San Antonio with a 15-point, 10-rebound performance on December 27th and missed out on 10 other double-double contests by one or two rebounds in each game. A mainstay in the low post for the Horned Frogs, Langford will be looked upon to build on his sophomore success and become one of the dominant players in the Mountain West Conference.
"Kevin had a really strong year for us last season, and now I think he can build on that and have an even stronger season for us this year," said Dougherty. "Kevin has gotten stronger over the past year, and I feel like what he needs to do to be more effective is to become more of a vocal leader to go along with his style of play. He can do a lot of things very, very well so I think that he is going to have a really good season for us."
One of the two fresh faces in the junior class for Dougherty will be smooth-shooting left-handed guard Henry Salter, who brings incredible athleticism to the court and will compete for a starting spot immediately in the Horned Frogs' lineup.
The TCU newcomer enjoyed a standout career at Mississippi Gulf Coast College where he earned third team All-American accolades from the National Junior College Athletic Association during his sophomore season. Salter ranked fourth among all NJCAA players in scoring average as the 6-4 guard contributed with 24.8 points per evening and was listed sixth in the nation with an 11.8 rebounds per game average.
Salter was the only player in the country last season to rank among the top-10 in both scoring and rebounding and was listed by Van Coleman of Hoopmasters.com as the 13th-best prospect in the junior college ranks a season ago. A two-time first team All-Region XXIII selection, Salter has always been known as an offensive threat as he averaged 23.1 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.3 blocked shots per game during his final campaign at Gulfport High School.
"Henry brings great size to the guard position, which is something that we really needed on this team. He gives us a different look because he's left-handed and is a really good shooter so he'll provide added depth at the guard position. He's a tremendous free throw shooter and rebounder so he brings a lot to the court for us," said Dougherty.
Fellow junior college-transfer John Ortiz will bring a guard's style of play to the low-post position for the Horned Frogs as the 6-8 forward can run the floor, shoot and handle the ball extremely well.
A product of Colby Community College, Ortiz averaged 8.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game to go along with a team-high 41 blocked shots and 40 steals on the season. Ortiz will bring several different elements to the court and can do a little bit of everything, but most importantly will be the essence of giving the Horned Frogs added depth and talent in the low post.
"John is really going to add depth to our low-post position, particularly at the power forward spot. He's very long, athletic, can run the court extremely well and can really handle the ball for a bigger players," Dougherty added.
There is an old saying that all good things come in three's.
For the Horned Frogs, that will be very true during the 2007-08 campaign as three juniors, three different roads and three different personalities and players will equal one successful season for the Purple and White.
TCU Athletic Media Relations