Tim Frazier had to do everything for the team last season including score, rebound, assist, and defend. How will the additions and development around him effect his game heading into his senior year?
Last Year's Synopsis
While Frazier was the unquestioned leader heading into the year, there were plenty of questions surrounding his game. He was the only returning player with meaningful experience, but his role was strictly to distribute the basketball, mainly to Talor Battle. Although he had somewhat of a mini-breakout stretch in March, Frazier was hesitant all season long to take open looks and only averaged 6.3 PPG. No way was a point guard who was willing to only take 12.2% of the team's shots was going to develop into a dependable scorer in the Big Ten.
However, he proved everyone wrong and confirmed that his scoring ability was for real. His junior campaign was one of the more remarkable individual seasons in recent memory. The baby-faced kid from Houston shouldered the biggest load all season long for the under-manned Lions. Not only was he willing to manufacture points, but he continued to distribute to his teammates in the flow of the offense. He was a First Team All-Big Ten selection despite being on the worst team in the league.
Frazier was one of the leading scorers in the country despite being a subpar shooter. His eFG% wasn't good at just 44.6%, but then again the team overall posted a 44.9% mark. However, he was a high-volume player because he simply had to be, and he did pretty damn well considering. He scored 18.8 PPG despite averaging less than one made three-point field goal a game.
The big statistical brilliance was his ability to set up his teammates, who all were opportunistic scorers with the exception of Jermaine Marshall. Frazier increased his raw assists/gm after Talor Battle graduated. Not only did he take on the scoring load, but he led the nation in assist rate last season (45.3%). Then you think of all the open looks that were clanked by the Nittany Lions last year...
Then on top of all that, Frazier tied with Aaron Craft for the Big Ten lead in steals and was top-50 in steal% according to KenPom. It's also popular to point out that he was State's leading rebounder, but that stat is simply a product of his playing time. Tim played 92.8% of the minutes last year, while second in that category was Jermaine Marshall who played 65.5% of the action. If everyone in the rotation last year played 92.8% of the minutes, Tim wouldn't even be close to leading rebounder.
So what more can we expect from Tim Frazier? A lot, actually. He worked very hard in the off-season tooling his jumpshot, and Chambers' believes his progress in that area is much improved. Obviously, Tim stretching the defense a bit more will only help the team's spacing and make him that much harder to guard him.
Efficiency also has to be a big area of improvement if PSU is to make strides in his senior year. It's almost inevitable that Tim's raw production is going to fall a little bit, but that's a good thing. He'll be getting the help he needs from his other backcourt mates (and hopefully the frontcourt, too). If he can be more efficient scorer, PSU's overall efficiency will definitely improve.
Lastly, Tim's leadership arguably is the most critical to the team's success. Chambers harped on it yesterday at Big Ten Media day.
"I think the most important thing for Tim is to be a great leader," Coach Chambers said. "I think we all know he needs to work on his jump shot, and he has done that. In practice so far, he is shooting his threes at a very high clip, which is great for us - it almost makes him unguardable. But it's off the floor. It's in that locker room. It's being the hardest worker on this team. It's not getting caught up in the headlines, the blogs or the tweets. It's to remain humble and hungry and grounded."
He's going to be the guy that ultimately carries the team to victories. He has shown nothing to discourage his prospects of being the quality, effective leader this team needs.
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