Coach needs to motivate players to be more successful

I like Jim Christian and the basketball team. I really do.

But I’ve been around long enough to know not to expect much from TCU men’s basketball.

Too many times during the past four years we have seen the Horned Frogs get out to a decent start, like last year’s false-hope-inspiring 4-1 record to open Mountain West play, only to wilt like a purple rose in the middle of the desert. The 2009 iteration of the team proceeded to lose its next six conference games.

Currently, the Horned Frogs stand at 2-2 in conference play. A respectable record, but will it last? History says no.

A seventh-place finish last year in conference was no better than the Neil Dougherty’s 2007-2008 finish with the team. In fact, Christian’s team finished with one less win than in Dougherty’s final season.

The team shows promise as three Christian recruits, seniors Zvonko Buljan and Edvinas Ruzgas and sophomore Ronnie Moss, are currently the team’s top three scorers, averaging 40.7 points between them.
The pieces are there, and as Christian’s second recruiting class blossoms this season, a seventh-place finish for the third straight year just won’t cut it.

I’m not saying the Frogs will shock the world and finish first in the conference and then tango with Louisville in the Sweet 16. I just want to see some marginal improvement, like finishing in fourth or fifth place.

An extreme differential in talent separates teams in last place from teams in first place. A lack of mental toughness and confidence separates teams in seventh from teams in fifth.

The Frogs have dropped entirely too many road games in the past few seasons to not suggest a lack of focus and swagger when walking into the opponent’s building. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a 1-7 road record last season in conference and an 0-2 road start to this campaign is suggestive of the focal point of the team’s struggles.

The players need to execute better on the road, and Christian needs to inspire and motivate them to dig themselves out of the MWC cellar.

I’ve attended at least 20 basketball games in my time at TCU and watched countless more on TV, and the lack of execution from an otherwise talented team is frustrating.

Coach Christian, don’t misconstrue this as a public flogging or something meant to bring you or the team down.

I’m critical of the team because I pour my heart and soul into the games whether in the stands or on my couch.

Just as you expect the best from your players, we fans expect the best from the man who coaches them.

You and I both know the team’s capable of more, and it’s up to you to bring them there.

David Hall is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood