Big 12 Basketball Media Day Recap

TCU head coach Trent Johnson

TCU head coach Trent Johnson

Oct. 17, 2012


KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Head coach Trent Johnson and junior forward Amric Fields represented the TCU men's basketball team at 2012 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Day on Wednesday at Sprint Center, home of the 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.

Johnson and Fields met with representatives from national, regional and local media outlets during the four-hour event. Among the outlets in the building were Big 12 television partners ESPN and FOX Sports. Johnson and Fields talked about the program's transition to a new league and a new coaching staff, as well as the team's outlook for the upcoming season.

A full transcript of Johnson's press conference session is included below. For more coverage of the event, including video of Johnson's press conference and Fields' live segment with Big 12 Digital Network, visit the Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Day Central page via the link at the top of this page.

The Moderator: Opening thoughts?

Coach Johnson:
Exciting time for TCU basketball. Obviously, when you look at TCU in the transformation from the Mountain West to the Big 12, everything's new and it's very exciting. I think our institution is primed to be in some position. I've inherited a group of young men that are doing an exceptional job of buying into everything we've asked them to do up to this point. We're just look forward to the challenge that every day presents us to be a decent basketball team.

Q: I understand football's done great there. That is kind of taken care of now. What are they doing to help bring TCU basketball to the level of the other team's in the league?

Coach Johnson:
Well, for us, when you look at our education I think in terms of this league, it sets us apart in certain situations. The commitment to our locker room I think you have to look no further than what happened to our football facility in a short period of time. That's one of the things that attracted me to this job. The quality of players and the many players that are in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. So the commitment from our institution is huge. We're going to have renovations started after the season in our locker room. But all that being said, bottom line is our football program, our baseball program, they did a lot of winning before they got good facilities. We need to take care of our abilities, and don't have a sense of entitlement, and everything else will take care of itself.

Q. LSU, you get first in the SEC when you go to LSU. Now there will be another big building project here at TCU. What did you learn from there? After the first year, the program kind of struggled a little bit. What did you bring from that experience to Fort Worth?

Coach Johnson:
It was a different experience at LSU. We inherited some issues. But what I learned in those middle two years, I don't know what it's like to die. But I got close to dying during those middle two years. As we all know, let's make no secret about it, you need to have good players, players that are committed and you need to do a good job of recruiting on a consistent basis. But I tend to stay away from the word rebuilding. I don't know where that label got thrown to me in my career. But make no mistake about it, I'm always in a situation where we're trying to win as fast as we can, and play fast as we can, and play well.

Q. Is there a better way to upgrade recruiting than making the leap conference-wise that TCU just made?

Coach Johnson: Other than win games, no, there is not. Again, I think I said it earlier. Now the kids in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that have bypassed TCU in the past, they're playing in one of the premier conferences in the country, if not the premier conference in the country. So now they can come, get a quality
education and play at a high level. Again, it's going to take a certain young man. It's going to take a good basketball player, but it's also going to take a guy with a lot of courage. We've been received very well in terms of the AAU coaches the high school coaches in there. But I think for the most part the guys that jump on board with this program are going to be guys that can play, one. Guys, two, that want to be a part of building some tradition. There in lies the challenge in itself. You look at all the premier programs across the country, regardless of the league it's in. They got started somewhere. There was a group of players and a group of guys that said I want to help this program build a tradition. That's the young man we're looking for, and we're making strides in that regard.

Q: Trent, what were the challenges that attracted you to this particular job? You've been all over the country to a variety of different coaching positions. What makes TCU unique as far as what made your juices flow to take the job?

Coach Johnson: Well, the institution, the support, again, probably the most important thing is the players in that area. There are so many players in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Also the location for me where I like to have my family, and hopefully be my last opportunity. So all of those things. Then the challenge, there is a challenge. There is a huge challenge in front of us. You look at our conference, and there are five guys that have coached in the Final Four, and four guys that are pretty good, and you have one grinding. So those challenges in themselves and being a part of building a basketball tradition when you win on a consistent basis, and you're a main play era cross the country. I think we can achieve all of those things in time. Is it going to happen overnight? Probably not.

Q: What is the biggest difference about the SEC compared to the Big 12? I know you've been asked that before, but what you noticed anything else since April?

Coach Johnson: Yeah, I haven't played a game in the Big 12 yet, so I don't know if I can answer that. But from afar, I think any conference you're in is the strongest conference and most competitive conference. But I go back to just from afar in regard to what league I've been in, the quality of players, the quality of coaching, and the physicality of the league. From top to bottom, in my mind, I think it's been undervalued. Obviously, like I said, you look at the history and tradition of this league, it's in the last five or ten years it's been consistent in terms of how good it is, the number of prospects that have come out. The number of coaches that have taken teams to postseasons and so on and so forth. There in lies the answer to your question is pretty simple.

Q: In the SEC, at least for a little bit for one year you had a chance to see what Devonta (Abron) could do playing his freshman year at Arkansas you have really big bodies in the Big 12. What else does he bring to the table?

Coach Johnson: He is the one guy on this team that's been battle tested and competed at a high level. That is no disrespect to the guys I have inherited. I've inherited a good group of guys. He gives us a post presence in terms of his strength and his size. He's no different than the group that I inherited Amric Fields, Garlon Green, Kyan Anderson, Nate Butler, Jarvis Ray, all of these guys are quality kids, and decent athletes. We need to push through adversity. Devonta is the guy that's been put in that situation versus high caliber teams and high caliber talent.



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