You might have lost track of Trent Johnson, the former Franklin High player and ex-Stanford coach. Johnson had the Lopez twins at Stanford in a successful run there that followed Mike Montgomery, but then failed to have a meeting of the minds with a new athletic director, Bob Bowlsby, and took off for Louisiana State in 2008.
He had a failed run there — 25-39 in SEC games — and left to become head coach at Texas Christian after last season.
TCU flies under the radar almost in the best of times, and Johnson’s first year has hardly been the best. But it got very good Wednesday night.
The Frogs, just 9-12 and winless in eight games in Big 12 play, held fifth-ranked Kansas to three field goals in the first half and ended up stunning the Jayhawks, 62-55. TCU led 22-13 at halftime, and Bill Self, the Kansas coach, was nothing but sardonic afterwards, calling his club “the worst team Kansas has put on the floor since Dr. (James) Naismith was there.”
Coupled with Kansas’ 85-80 upset loss last Saturday to Oklahoma State, it marked the first time in 264 games that KU had lost two in a row, dating back to 2006. It was also TCU’s first win in history against a top-five club after losing the first such 20.
With 6:06 left in the first half, TCU led 12-2.
“I think Dr. Naismith had some bad teams when he lost to Topeka YMCA and things like that the first couple of years,” said Self, referring to the inventor of the game who used to coach at Kansas. “But for the first half, there hasn’t been a team play worse than that.”
Johnson has had a rough initial year in Fort Worth, marked by some key injuries. The taciturn, 56-year-old ex-Washington assistant said, “We knew we were going to have to play as well as we’ve played all year. I think we played extremely hard.”