March 22, 2017
In Coach Jamie Dixon’s first season, TCU Men’s Basketball punched its first ticket to the NIT semifinals in New York City.
by Mark Wright Photos by Michael Clements
Senior guard Brandon Parrish speaks with the media after his Horned Frogs beat Richmond to earn a trip to the NIT semifinals.
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by Mark Wright
Photos by Michael Clements
Before TCU guard Brandon Parrish stepped off the Schollmaier Arena floor for the final time as a Horned Frog, the senior from Arlington paused to hug his younger brother, Josh Parrish.
Josh, who is a freshman on the team, came onto the court for the final ticks of the clock as his senior brother walked off, signifying a passing of the torch. Brandon and his three fellow seniors – Chris Washburn, Michael Williams and Karviar Shepherd – refused to lose this season. They will soon give way to Josh and a group of young Frogs who have the potential to carry future TCU squads to heights unseen in Fort Worth.
And that triumphant exit was just the kind of jubilant moment Brandon had always dreamed of experiencing in front of a keyed-up home crowd. “I was here my freshman year with a winless conference season. Now, I’m about to go to New York and play in the semifinals of the NIT,” Brandon reminisced. “To be here now is a blessing.”
Brandon blessed the Frogs with numerous big shots, including two 3-pointers, as his team jumped out to a 15-point halftime lead Tuesday night on the way to an emphatic 86-68 triumph against the Richmond Spiders in the NIT quarterfinals in front of nearly 6,000 frenzied Frogs fans.
And so Coach Jamie Dixon’s miraculous first season leading his alma mater continues. The 22-win Horned Frogs – who shocked the hoops world earlier this month with a takedown of NCAA Tournament 1-seed Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament – are headed to New York for next week’s NIT semifinals at storied Madison Square Garden.
“It’s been a dream come true,” Dixon said. “But I never expected four seniors who performed like this. The younger players have learned from their sacrifices.”
And if the Frogs can continue to sacrifice and muster another performance like Tuesday night’s, they’ll have a second game to play in New York next week: The NIT Championship game.
“It was just some extra games for our seniors just [to] pay them back for all they did for us,” said junior Vlad Brodziansky, who poured in 20 points against Richmond, of the team’s approach to the NIT. “We just took it like a challenge. We wanted to go out and try to win every game and try to get to New York.”
Brodziansky wasn’t the only Frog who rose to the challenge against Richmond. Junior Kenrich Williams posted 11 points, 10 assists and 14 rebounds for the first triple-double in TCU history. But the players agreed that the most valuable player on Tuesday was the Schollmaier crowd. The Frog fans were led by a boisterous student body that was in good humor long before Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. passed out free ice cream during halftime.
“It’s definitely amazing, just the support that we’ve gotten from our community and our students in general,” Brandon Parrish said. “We thank them so much for the energy they’ve brought for us. Schollmaier Arena provides a home court advantage like no other.”
Longtime hoops supporter Mary Ruth Jones ’58, who seldom misses a home game, has experienced some lean times, especially in recent basketball seasons. But she said this year’s team has been a sweet reward for her enduring faith in the program.
“It’s a fantastic run that the team is on, and [Dixon] is a fantastic coach,” said Jones, who has worked at the university for 34 years. “I think the program is just going to keep going upward and upward.”
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I took my visit to TCU in 1969. I came on and played basketball in 1970 on the freshman team. I LEFT AFTER 2 YEARS–GOT called up to the nypd but never stopped loving TCU. NOW MORE THAN EVER
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