Making the Leap: Tim FrazierPosted by Ryan Terpstra on February 14th, 2012
It is 1,244 miles from Houston, Texas, to Penn State University. That is where Tim Frazier grew up. He’s the only player from the city of Houston to be playing in the Big Ten conference, and only two other players (Nebraska senior Toney McCray and Northwestern freshman Trey Demps) are even from the state of Texas. Tim Frazier has come a long way to be where he’s at, and his game has come even further.
It hasn’t been easy to notice the Nittany Lions this season, as their relation to first place in the Big Ten standings seems about as far away as Houston and University Park. But it’s impossible to not notice the play of junior point guard Frazier, who has made an astronomical statistical jump from his sophomore season. Last year, Frazier played in 34 games, averaging 30.0 MPG, 6.3 PPG, and handing out 5.1 APG; good numbers considering his number one job was to facilitate offense for high-scoring guard Talor Battle. With Battle gone this season, Frazier was expected to increase his scoring load and take leadership of the team, but not even the most die-hard Penn State fan could have imagined the lines that Frazier has been able to put up this season.
Most points scored in the conference. Second in scoring average. First in assists. Most minutes played. Tops in steals. Leading in free throw makes. This is what Tim Frazier has been able to accomplish up to this point in 2011-12. The 5’11″ guard is also tied for 16th in rebounding at 5.0 RPG. The term “do-everything player” not only describes Frazier’s statistical impact, but it also rings true because he is head and shoulders the most effective player on Pat Chambers’ squad. The Nittany Lions are currently the worst-shooting team in the Big Ten conference at 38%, and they only average 61.0 PPG as a team. Frazier’s 18.5 PPG means that on a nightly basis, he alone is scoring almost a third of PSU’s buckets. To make the numbers even more astounding, please note that before this season, Frazier had scored over 20 points in a game exactly once in his career.
Opposing defenses and coaches know what is coming. Frankly, no other Nittany Lion scares them. Frazier is surrounded by the worst shooting team in the conference, and it’s not like he’s been scorching the nets this season either. He’s only a 41% shooter from the field, and his three-point percentage is the worst of his career at 28%. But a devastating first step and a much-improved mid-range game have turned him into a bona fide scoring threat, a guy that creates so many open shots for teammates that they have no other choice but to knock them down. Frazier has boosted his scoring average by 12.0 PPG this year, but somehow has has also increased his assist rate in the process.
Former Penn State point guard/three-point sniper Joe Crispin worked with Frazier in the offseason, and says the key to the massive improvement in the junior’s game is his willingness to identify weaknesses and then work hard at them. This makes Frazier a difficult player to prepare for, because breaking your tendencies in the heavily-scouted Big Ten is imperative for continued success. The eye-popping numbers Frazier has been able to post thus far have also garnered attention from NBA scouts, who previously viewed him as a highly athletic player who needed much more polish to his game.
Consider it done. Tim Frazier has been shining all year for PSU, and the quantum leap his play has taken has thrust him into the conversation for Big Ten Player of the Year. Outside of a miracle in the Big Ten Tournament, Frazier and the Nittany Lions will be watching the Big Dance at home again this year. But there is no question that Frazier is among the best players in the country when it comes to doing the most with what he’s been given.