In this year’s edition of the MAC vs Big 12 was Eastern Michigan vs TCU, with TCU coming out on top at home by a score of 87-69. You may recall, last year I wrote about Kansas’ 5 prospects against Toledo. This year, my first of eight TCU games I will be attending, I went to see two prospects, only one of whom played.
I had hoped to see Eastern Michigan’s Elijah Minnie, a small forward and potentially small ball 4 in some lineups that can shoot and stretch the floor. However, Minnie racked up a DNP-CD after a horrid start to the year compared to his junior season. While disappointed, I was still able to see an NBA prospect in Desmond Bane of TCU. As Big 12 play approaches, expect him to gain some national traction.
While only 4 teams- Washington, Utah, Miami, and Dallas- were in attendance, those teams may have gotten an edge on a hidden gem in TCU junior Desmond Bane.
Desmond Bane had a season low in scoring with just 11 points on 4-11 shooting, mostly hurt by his 1-7 shooting from 3. He also had 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals. and a block. Bane’s strongest impact on the game was defense, indicated by his 3 steals and 1 block.
While the competition wasn’t strong in terms of NBA talent, Bane displayed a high feel for the game, particularly on defense. He was able to read the plays before they happened and he used his lateral quickness and athleticism to stay in front of his man. In a game full of defensive stands and forcing shot clock violations, Desmond Bane had the most defensive stops on the team, according to TCU’s defensive tracker.
Bane likely projects similarly to a 3&D player in the NBA. He’s a good passer for the role, but the one area that remains unclear is his ball handling and shot creation. Those skills are what will separate him from being an end of bench player or a solid rotational piece in the NBA.
Having a healthy Jaylen Fisher and Kouat Noi complete the Horned Frogs. Both players are coming off of knee injuries and appeared in just their second game on Monday night. Fisher came in against Eastern Michigan and scored 9 points that started the early lead in the first half. Noi came out firing in the second half, both attacking the basket and in jump shooting. Arguably the two best floor spacers, Fisher and Noi add much needed shooting to the Horned Frogs lineup.
TCU plays Central Michigan on Friday, followed by SMU and USC next week. Bane will get a major test against the fastest rising prospect in the country, Kevin Porter Jr of USC. Porter is a herky-jerky style shooting guard with a good jump shot. Bane will have to use his high level instincts and athleticism to limit Porter. Big 12 play begins in January, when almost every week Desmond Bane will be going against an NBA caliber wing. TCU’s suffocating defense will be crucial for the Horned Frogs’ success, as they forced 16 turnovers.