first_img TCU’s Jamie Dixon mum on UCLA speculation Dixon would inherit a UCLA roster that could return almost fully intact from a 17-16 season and no postseason bid for the fourth consecutive year. The biggest hole is expected to be left by sophomore forward Kris Wilkes, the team’s leading scorer who has announced his intention to declare for the NBA Draft and hire an agent.The Bruins also will be bolstered by the return of point guard Tyger Campbell and power forward Shareef O’Neal from injury and illness, respectively.Dixon’s strong West Coast roots and ties also would help with recruiting. TCU basketball coach Jamie Dixon is close to taking over UCLA’s hallowed but recently downtrodden program.The Los Angeles Times reports that he has agreed in principle to leave TCU in hopes of reviving a program that has won 11 national titles but hasn’t been to a Final Four in more than a decade or won a national championship in nearly 25 years. Dixon — a protege of former UCLA coach Ben Howland — emerged earlier this week as one of the school’s top targets along with Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin, though Dixon was mentioned as a possible successor to Steve Alford as far back as December, when Alford was fired.Still, the Times describes Dixon as “something of a consolation prize” after UCLA’s search committee was not able to land a top target — most notably Kentucky coach John Calipari, who turned down a six-year, $45 million offer — despite having more than three months to make its choice.Several other high-profile candidates either weren’t interested, didn’t pass the school’s background checks or declined to be interviewed until after the Final Four, the Times reported.Dixon, 53, has been at TCU for three seasons, during which time the Horned Frogs have gone 68-41. He guided the tradition-starved program last season to its first NCAA Tournament in 20 years. Before his time at TCU, Dixon coached Pittsburgh to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances in 13 seasons.  Citing an unidentified source, the Times reported that the L.A. native, 53, was negotiating to “substantially” reduce his $8 million buyout at TCU or he and UCLA would have to figure out how to pay the full amount as one of the remaining hurdles. That’s a considerable hurdle, according to CBS Sports, which cited unidentified sources in reporting that Dixon’s candidacy is “dependent on whether or not his buyout can be reduced. Until that happens, the focus is on other candidates. Dixon is currently recruiting for TCU.” Related Newslast_img