TCU Men's Basketball Season Preview - Part III
Nov. 4, 2007
This will be the third of five installments of the TCU men's basketball preview for the upcoming 2007-08 season with this edition focusing on the second-year players that will look to make their mark in the lineup this season.
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.
The Future of the Horned Frogs in the Hands of Four Sophomores
The campaign where they are no longer fresh faces out of high school; new to the world of college studies, athletics and life. The campaign where they are expected to take the lessons learned on and off the field of competition as rookies, and work twice as hard in order to make their mark on the program.
The sophomore season - a year to prove that they belong in the program.
Similar to the senior class of the 2007-08 TCU men's basketball program, the Horned Frogs will watch as four sophomores - Jason Ebie (Houston, TX/Alief Elsik H.S.), Martiese Morones (Lexington, KY/Millersburg Military Institute), Keion Mitchem (Rochester, NY/Rochester East H.S.) and Nick Metzger (San Antonio, TX/Reagan H.S.) - take the next step in their athletic careers.
The only difference between the four seniors for the Horned Frogs and the four sophomores is one simple fact that the former is looking to lay the foundation for future years while the latter will be looking to build upon it and prove that they are the future.
Ebie will come into the season with the most playing experience among the TCU sophomores as the Horned Frogs' guards appeared in 22 games, including 13 times in Mountain West Conference action. After missing the first four games of the season due to knee surgery, Ebie averaged 1.0 points, 0.5 rebounds, 0.5 steals and 0.4 steals per game during his rookie campaign.
The TCU sophomore tied a career-high with five points in six minutes at Colorado State and recorded five points and two steals against Grambling State in his collegiate debut. Ebie saw action on the court in a career-high 14 minutes against nationally-ranked Air Force Academy and notched 12 minutes of playing time against Dallas-rival SMU.
An athletic point guard who the TCU faithful will be hearing about for seasons to come will play a prominent role for the Horned Frogs heading into his second season with the program.
"I fully expect Jason to compete for the role as our point guard," said TCU head men's basketball coach Neil Dougherty. "After having knee surgery as a freshman, Jason is much stronger and much more physical in his second season, and he has done a great job with his body physically. He has to learn how to use his athleticism and be much more adapt to controlling that and be much more adapt to running the team."
Morones is another sophomore that brings tremendous potential and athleticism to the point guard position for the Horned Frogs in the 2007-08 season. In his rookie campaign, the TCU sophomore appeared in 17 games where he logged a total of 65 minutes of court time en route to averaging 3.8 minutes per action.
A speedy, left-handed point guard with a strong basketball pedigree (his father, Sean Woods, is an assistant coach with TCU and was one of Kentucky's "Unforgettables" on the 1992 team that fell 104-103 to Duke in the NCAA Elite Eight in what consider one of the greatest basketball games of all-time).
The TCU sophomore made his collegiate debut against Centenary where he recorded three rebounds in eight minutes of action and dished out a career-high four assists in 10 minutes of playing time against Mountain West Conference-foe BYU. Morones recorded only one point on the season (a free throw against Tulane), but averaged one assist in every 6.5 minutes for the Horned Frogs as a rookie.
"Martiese is about as quick with the basketball as you're going to see, and he needs to continue to get stronger, but the difference between his freshman and sophomore years should be like night and day for him. He'll continue to work on his outside shooting, and he's going to be very effective in pushing the ball in transition and pressuring the ball defensively," added Dougherty.
The Horned Frogs will be extremely excited about the return of TCU sophomore Keion Mitchem, who appeared in the program's first 15 games before being sidelined due to off the court issues. The 6-0 guard was enjoying a standout first season with the program as he was averaging 6.1 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while averaging 13.6 minutes of court time.
In his first 15 games as a rookie with the Horned Frogs, Mitchem had put together a pair of double-digit scoring performances and was set to see plenty of action in Mountain West Conference action. On their summer trip to Costa Rica, Mitchem proved to be one of the standout players for the Horned Frogs where he showcased his explosive scoring ability from driving the ball to the basketball to sinking shot-after-shot from behind the three-point line. The 6-0 guard will be one of the players that the faithful of the Purple and White will be talking about for years to come.
"Keion had a great summer as far as shooting the basketball, and I believe that having him back with us is going to help us particularly with our perimeter shooting. I think what he's got to do to be more effective for longer minutes on the floor is that he's got to defend, be stronger and help us with our rebounding. If he can do those things, the offensive side of his game which is where he's naturally adept would greatly benefit from his quickness," added Dougherty.
The final piece of the sophomore puzzle will come in the former of San Antonio, TX, native Nick Metzger, who played sparingly during his first season with the Horned Frogs. The Horned Frogs' guard only appeared in a pair of games for the Purple and White will provide tremendous depth for the program at the two-and-three positions.
With four sophomores in the lineup this season for the Horned Frogs, Dougherty will quickly find out who made the most improvement in order to continue to build on the foundation for the future of the Horned Frogs.
TCU Athletic Media Relations