Penn State hasn't had an active player on an NBA roster since Calvin Booth last played for Sacramento in the 2008-09 season. That fact may not be long for accuracy, however, because Tim Frazier is playing out of his mind for the NBA Development League's Maine Red Claws. Don't believe it? See for yourself:
He burst onto the scene in early December against Sioux City:
Then came a triple-double against the Skyforce back in Maine:
Last Friday night he put up a 24-10-6 on the Westchester Knicks, which included the game winning bucket:
And while his alma mater was imploding in Piscataway on Saturday night, he dropped a 34-12 with 0 turnovers against the Delaware 87ers:
Brings back memories, doesn't it?
Thanks in large part to Frazier and Chris Babb, himself a former Nittany Lion, the Red Claws are the best team in the NBDL, posting a 15-3 record. Frazier's 23.3 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) ranks sixth in the league and tops among point guards. His per game averages also put him among the league's best in several categories: 31st in points per game (16.5 ppg), fourth in assists (8.3 apg), 31st in rebounds (6.6 rpg), fourth in steals (2.2 spg) (and marginally behind third-place Aaron Craft).
On Monday NBA teams can begin signing players to 10-day contracts. These deals run for ten days or three games, whichever comes first, and they're generally used as tryout periods for D-League players. In 2013-14 37 players were called up throughout the season, either on 10-day or more permanent deals.
Frazier could very well be in line to get this sort of contract from an NBA team. His coach in Maine, Scott Morrison, had this to say to Ridiculous Upside, SB Nation's NBDL blog:
Q: Tim Frazier has certainly been a bright spot for the Red Claws this season. He's averaging upwards towards a triple-double and has already garnered Performer of the Week achievements, to say the least. What can you say about his impact and respective contributions? I know he's new, just like many players on this team.
A: He is new to the team, but the fact that he was an affiliate player in Boston and I was there with him gave us a head start. That was a benefit to both he and I because we came in with a comfort level already established. In terms of his play, I've been pleased with his effort. Everyone has to improve things, and Tim is no different. He knows what he has to work on to be successful at the higher level. Every time he steps on the court, he's ready to battle. He's one of the toughest guys on the court. He plays well in crunch time, and I think we can give him some credit, not all, for a couple of our wins. He's been making big plays. He finds his teammates and makes his free throws. I think when he shows people he can do things in terms of the pick & roll, keeping up a high assist/turnover ratio, and knocking down his threes, he'll be someone that people are talking about for a call-up.
The Boston Celtics are the "hybrid owners" of the Red Claws, meaning the club is independently owned but the Celtics control finances and basketball operations. This means they have the first crack at every Red Claws player, though that hasn't stopped other NBA franchises from picking up a player from Maine. For instance, last season the Celtics called up Babb for a short stint, but his Red Claw teammate Chris Wright got two calls-up from the Milwaukee Bucks. We may not hear any signing news this week, but it's something to keep an eye on as injuries and trades take their tolls on NBA rosters. Do work, Timmy.