Tim Frazier’s impact on Penn State Basketball grew exponentially in the 2011-12 campaign, as the point guard nearly tripled his scoring average from the season before and led the Big Ten in assists.
But the first season of the Patrick Chambers era in Happy Valley wasn’t a joyful one, as a Nittany Lion team that was adjusting not only to a new coaching staff but also to the loss of some vitally important seniors went 12-20 overall.
With the Big Ten getting even tougher as Indiana continues their rise and a host of teams possessing the look of a contender, rebounding from such a tough season could be difficult.
But the familiarity between Frazier and his head coach, along with a summer that’s included trips to the Deron Williams and LeBron James skills academies, could mean even bigger things for the senior point guard.
“At this time last year I was coming in not knowing what kind of person [Coach Chambers] was or what his style of play was, or what I was getting myself into,” said Frazier in an interview with NBCSports.com on Saturday.
“But now with a year under my belt we’ve [developed] a great relationship that will definitely help the program so I know what he expects and I know what he’s looking for.”
Frazier averaged 18.8 points, 6.2 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game for Penn State, but the Nittany Lions struggled as a team offensively with just one other player averaging double figures (Jermaine Marshall- 10.8 ppg).
How important is Frazier to Penn State? According to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers (subscription required), Frazier ranked tenth nationally with a possession percentage of 32.6% and finished with an offensive rating of 103.8.
Only two other Nittany Lions finished the season with an offensive rating higher than 101, and neither of those players played a role in at least 20% of Penn State’s possessions.
The question now is what does Penn State have to do in order to take steps in the right direction as a program, with Chambers already winning some important battles on the recruiting trail.
“We just have to play Penn State Basketball,” remarked Frazier. “Coach Chambers has brought a new attitude to the program and he’s had some success in the past, and I have no doubt that we’ll have success in the future.”
The presence of Frazier gives Penn State a shot at turning things around in 2012-13, and there aren’t many point guards in America that would be taken ahead of him either.