Dating back to 1947, Penn State has seen a total of 10 players selected in the NBA Draft. The last Nittany Lion selected by an NBA team was PF/C Calvin Booth in 1999, who was drafted 35th overall by the Washington Wizards.
Just to put that total in perspective, Indiana and Michigan each had two players selected in the first round of last year’s NBA draft, while the Hoosiers boast a total of 73 drafted players in the history of the program.
A few Penn State players have enjoyed success in college — such as point guard Talor Battle, who helped lead the Nittany Lions to an NIT title in 2009 and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011 — but few have taken their game to the Association.
That could all change at the end of this season. Senior point guard Tim Frazier is entering his fifth year as a member of the basketball team and boasts a pretty respectable résumé to present to potential NBA suitors.
Perhaps the biggest selling point for Frazier is the praise he earned from his own head coach, Patrick Chambers.
“Tim is the fastest player I have ever coached and I have coached some fast players. He’s faster than Kyle Lowry (formerly of Villanova) who’s in the NBA now,” Chambers said. “Tim doesn’t get the credit he deserves for what he has done. He is a special talent – the way he can jump and his rim-to-rim speed. He wants to lead this team and he is our hardest worker. He wants to improve too. His shooting has gotten better and he has a lot of room to continue to improve his game.”
Frazier, a Houston native, delivered his best season in 2011-2012, where he averaged 19.6 points per game, finishing just 0.4 ppg shy of the Big Ten scoring title. He led the Big Ten in assists, was the first Nittany Lion to be named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, and just the sixth Penn State player to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors.
However, the most staggering statistic was that he accounted for 58 percent of the Lions’ offense with his combined field goals (208) and assists (198), a statistic that led the nation. Not only that, he was the only NCAA Div. I player to average at least 17 points and six assists per game.
To put Frazier’s numbers into perspective, let’s compare his stats to the numbers of some notable point guards during their last season in college. Keep in mind, these players were all selected in the top 10.
Derrick Rose, Memphis: 40 GP, 14.9 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.5 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 47.7% FG, 33.7% 3PG, 71.2% FT
Damian Lillard, Weber State: 32 GP, 24.5 PPG, 4.0 APG, 5.0 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 46.7% FG, 40.9% 3FG, 88.7% FT
Trey Burke, Michigan: 39 GP, 18.6 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 46.3% FG, 38.4% 3FG, 80.1% FT
Russell Westbrook, UCLA: 39 GP, 12.7 PPG, 4.3 APG, 3.9 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 46.5% FG, 33.8% 3FG, 71.3% FT
Chris Paul, Wake Forest: 32 GP, 15.3 PPG, 6.6 APG, 4.5 RPG, 2.4 SPG, 45.1% FG, 47.4% 3FG, 83.4% FT
John Wall, Kentucky: 37 GP, 16.6 PPG, 6.5 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 46.1% FG, 32.5% 3FG, 75.4% FT
Tim Frazier, Penn State: 32 GP, 18.8 PPG, 6.2 APG, 4.7 RPG, 2.4 SPG, 41.9% FG, 31.4% 3FG, 79.1% FT
As you can see, Frazier ranks second in PPG and is tied for first in SPG against some of the best college point guards of the last 10 years. In a league that former Fab Five point guard and current Grantland contributor Jalen Rose says is a “point guard driven league,” with players like Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook representing the league’s best, it’s not crazy to think that if Frazier continues to play at a high level, he could earn the admiration of some NBA executives.