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Penn State Basketball: Frazier Reflects, Offers Advice, And Prepares For Future

by on March 01, 2014 10:00 AM

Tim Frazier has seen a lot in his day.

A run to the Big Ten Tournament title game, a game in the NCAA Tournament, losing seasons, heartbreaking losses, memory making upsets; all within the five years of his time at Penn State. Four spent on the court.

So as Frazier sits on a training table Friday afternoon with both legs wrapped in space age looking rehabilitation pads there is a calmness about him. Frazier has always been quiet, although his frequent silence is only how he presents himself. An intelligent mind constantly thinking and working behind his calm demeanor is largely what has helped him turn into the player –and person—he is today. The game of both basketball and life being as much mental as it is physical.

But this particular calmness carries a hint of savoring the moment. It is less than 48 hours until Frazier's final game in the Bryce Jordan Center and less than 24 hours removed from Senior Night festivities that saw Penn State beat Ohio State for the second time this season.

Even for a player who has seen it all, the onward marching of time frequently becomes apparent all too late. The mundane moments are the ones you learn to savor as stages in life draw to a close.

Frazier will undeniably go down as one of the greatest to play basketball at Penn State. The program’s career assists leader will continue to push that mark over the next four games. The five year Nittany Lion already in the books as just the second Big Ten player to reach 1,000 points 600 assists and 500 rebounds in a career. It's a testament to his ability to not only score but share the ball as well.

There is no good way to simply summarize the type of player Frazier was during his time at Penn State.  But as Frazier rested his legs prior to Friday's practice, he took time to reflect and reminisce about the past five years of his life.

StateCollege.com: When you came to Penn State, Talor Battle was still “the guy” and you were able to play with him early on in your career. What were you able to take away from him back then that you have applied these past two years while being “the guy” yourself?

Tim Frazier: I think some of the things I took away from him the most was the hard work. He worked hard and he knew what his end goal was and he was so persistent. I think that was the main thing that I took from him and I try and use as much as anything. Don’t let anything stop you from achieving your goal. That was something that he preached all the time and he was a great leader and a great person on and off the court and that was something I took from him and those other seniors on that team. They were great leaders on and off the court. They were always there when you needed someone to talk to, especially for me being away from home so I think that’s what I use the most.

SC: That senior class was so large, that when they graduated you quickly became the player who had to fill their shoes and fill Talor’s shoes more specifically. Considering his status in the program and really the amount he did for the program, did that add any pressure once you stepped into that role?

TF: I don’t know if it added pressure. I think I kind of knew it coming in that eventually those guys were going to leave and when I came in as a freshman I knew that those guys were going to leave and it was going to be my class that would take the reins. I don’t think it was added pressure though, he and I are two totally different players. He’s Penn State’s All-Time Leading Scorer and I’m Penn State’s All-Time Assists Leader and I got half my assist probably from him so it didn’t add any pressure.

SC: You’ve been placed on preseason and postseason All-Big Ten Awards lists, on national award lists and have really have been one of the marquee players in the conference for awhile now.  Maybe not a specific moment, but when did you realize that this was something you were capable of becoming as a player? When did you think you could be the Tim Frazier people think of when they think of you today?

TF: I was always the person that was going to do whatever the team needed me to do. Never once did I plan to have it come out the way it did, especially with a new coach and having to change to be a scorer and kind of go away from the assists and having to score all the time. But I’ve always been someone that adapts to whatever the team needs me to do to win. So I don’t think there was a point that I ever thought that I couldn't do it. Just whenever I was needed to do it, I wanted to.

SC: Similarly coming out of high school did you ever envision it ending up like this or did your career just turn out that way, evolve that way?

TF: I think that’s just how it evolved.  I never once would say “I can do this, be that” I was very confident in the type of player that I could be and the type of player I was. I just wanted to be on a team to help the team win. My main focus wasn’t about trying to be first team Big Ten, it really just kind of fell into place and that just happened at a moment.

SC: When you came to Penn State you were quieter a little less out in the public eye. Now you've been out there speaking in front of crowds and have been the face of the program in a very different way than just on the court. How have you changed in that regard as person.

TF: I’ve grown tremendously as a man. I can go and stand in front of thousands of people and speak and Coach Chambers has done the job of putting me in front of people and having me be able to speak in front of people and be articulate and speak what’s on my mind without being nervous. It’s just a maturation process and I think Coach Chambers did a good job of getting me out there to do that.

SC: When you were injured and tore your achilles the question was always how you were going to bounce back from that. Looking back did you even wonder on some level if this was going to drastically alter your future with basketball?

TF: Of course, this was my first injury ever so you know I had doubts. Would I come back the way I was, would I be better, how would things play out? That was a big moment in my life being injured for that year but we came back and worked hard and I had the best coaches and training staff and teammates behind me that pushed me to be the person that I am today.

SC: Your season at home closes out on Sunday but the season hasn't ended yet. That being said, have you given much thought to your future after Penn State? How much have you talked to former players about that transition and their experiences with professional basketball?

TF: I try not to think too far ahead. My plan right now is to win the next home game, win the two on the road and go to the Big Ten. But I do want to pursue a basketball career as long as possible knowing that I do have my business degree to fall back on. I hear tidbits here and there. When Drew (Jones) came back we talked about how his professional career was and what he did there, and I’ve talked to guys Talor, and Jeff (Brooks) and how they’re doing over there and Sasa (Borovnjak) as well. [Sasa] was here last year and I’ll be in the same boat as he was here in a couple of months, deciding an agent and all that stuff. I try not to think too far ahead because that’s going to be a huge step, that’s going to be a big decision in your life. It’s like choosing a college all over again.

SC: You've played in a lot of big games and you've played well in a lot of games. Is there one you’re particularly proud of?

TF: I think maybe that game in the Big Ten tournament, that Michigan State game that helped us make the (NCAA tournament). That was one of my best games coming out as a young player and you know not for me but it kind of showed everybody else that we could do it. That I could score, that we’ve got great teammates. There were a lot of games, even that game last night is going to go down as one of the best games even if I didn’t play well it was just a great team effort. And winning on the road, winning on the road is huge.

(Frazier's stat line that game against Michigan State: 22 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block)

SC: Last night was Senior Night for you and Zach Cooper but you guys still play at home on Sunday. Does that make it weird at all for you?

TF: The game on Sunday is much more than a senior night, it’s gonna be Team Ream Night what he did for the program. Obviously it’s going to be my last game but I don’t think it’ll be weird, we celebrated Senior Night last night with my family and Cooper's family as well and I think Sunday is going to be something bigger than basketball.

SC: Early in your career the team had to deal with the graduation of Jamelle Cornley and the leadership hole that he filled. What do you tell next year’s team about filing the shoes that you left behind in that regard?

TF: I just tell them to be yourself. You can’t be me. That was one of my things, the coaches (would say) you can’t be just like someone else. I couldn’t be Talor Battle, I wasn’t going to be Talor, I couldn’t be Jeff Brooks, Drew Jones, Steve Kirkpatrick all those guys, I couldn’t be them I had to be myself. So that’s what I tell them, be yourself, be that leader that you want to be. If you’re outspoken then be outspoken, if you’re quiet or lead by example then lead by example. But we’re leaving this place in great hands, obviously we have a great coaching staff and everybody around them. And DJ will take the reins and will lead them to victory.

SC: What is the Tim Frazier bumper sticker? How do you want people to remember the Tim Frazier era of Penn State basketball?

TF: Actually I want people to remember me for more than just basketball.  I wanted to come into college and I never once thought I’d be in this position. I just wanted to get better every year and I want people to remember me as someone in the community, someone who was a great guy in the program that did things the right way. I want to be remembered for more than just a basketball, a staple that people can say “He was a great student athlete” with anything that has to do with Penn State across the campus obviously I’ll be a fan forever. I want to be able to come back and reminisce on games, reminisce on things, but I just want to be remembered as a great guy that did everything he could for this school.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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