Worst-Case Scenario at Penn State: Tim Frazier Out For The Season

Posted by jnowak on November 21st, 2012

Things went from bad to worse at Penn State this week. With Tim Frazier done for the season with a ruptured Achilles, the Nittany Lions lost basically their only source of consistent offense early in a season that had already turned ugly. Even after he was injured and played just six minutes in the Nittany Lions’ blowout loss at the hands of Akron (preseason selection to finish second in the MAC East Division), Frazier was still leading the club with 16.3 PPG. The Nittany Lions — with losses already to N.C. State and Akron, and close wins against St. Francis (Pa.) and Providence — are dead-last in the Big Ten in scoring offense, with 58.8 PPG. Take away Frazier’s average (he was second in the conference last year with 18.8 PPG) and that number into scary territory.

Without Tim Frazier, Penn State would be averaging 42.5 PPG this season. Now they’ll see what life without him is like. (Andy Lyons)

The Nittany Lions were already far too dependent on Frazier before the injury occurred. He played all but one minute in the Penn State’s first three games combined, totaling 65 points, which was 34 percent of the team’s total scoring output. It’s natural for a team — especially a lackluster one — to rely heavily on its best player, particularly when he’s an upperclassman. And with Frazier being a point guard, the offense is going through his hands anyhow. But with the Nittany Lions relying so heavily on the All-Big Ten player, it could potentially become a huge problem if, say, that player fouls out late in a game or endures an injury. What happens then? Well, we’re about to find out.

“This is a great opportunity for our freshmen and guys who want to play a little more to step up,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said, according to StateCollege.com. “Guys are going to need to step up and play a little harder. Maybe Tim Frazier is that purpose we need to play a little harder.” This becomes sophomore D.J. Newbill‘s team now, as he’ll slide into the point guard role. Newbill is a promising talent, already second on the team in scoring (14.5), rebounds (5.5) and assists (2.5). He had 20 points, six boards and five assists in the Akron game when Frazier went down. “I think D.J. is very capable playing the point and distributing,” Chambers said. “We’re going to go out and compete. Don’t feel sorry for us. We’re going to go out and grind. He needs to play the way he’s been playing. He needs to step up more because he’s going to have the ball more.”

Penn State has hardly any interior game to speak of (Newbill and Frazier, both guards, are the team’s leading rebounders) but that may be something that Chambers begins to incorporate more as the season goes on. If not, it could become a serious point of weakness come Big Ten season. The Nittany Lions are last in the conference in field goal percentage, rebounding margin, 3-point field goal percentage and assist/turnover ratio. Those figures will all have to improve dramatically for them to have a fighting chance in a tough conference. Our first look at the Nittany Lions sans Tim Frazier will come Friday against undefeated Bucknell, which already beat Purdue this season.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” Chambers told reporters on Tuesday. “We have to go out and compete and go out and play Penn State basketball. We’ve got a top 25-caliber team coming to town Friday. This is a great opportunity for guys to step up. Know your role, trust your teammates, play hard. I think they understand what they need to do and they came ready to work.” Fortunately for the Nittany Lions, it’s likely that Frazier will be granted a medical redshirt and will be available to play next year. Recovery time is expected to be 6-12 months and Chambers told reporters he hopes to have Frazier available by the summer. According to StateCollege.com, the Nittany Lions do not have a scholarship available for the 2013-14 season.

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