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Tim Frazier Is Dominating the D-League

Tim Frazier, fondly remembered as one of the best players in Penn State basketball history, is putting on quite a show this season in the NBA’s Development League for the Maine Red Claws.

Playing for the Boston Celtics’ affiliate, Frazier is averaging 15.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 2.0 steals, all ranking among the top three on the team. His 19.06 PER also ranks third on the team, while his assist total ranks seventh in the D-League and his 34.99 assist percentage ranks third among all players.

Last week, the former Nittany Lion posted a ridiculous triple double against the Sioux Falls Skyforce, scoring 18 points to go along with 13 assists and 10 rebounds. For his efforts, Frazier was named the D-League’s Performer of the Week on Monday.

The Penn State record-holder for most career assists and only the second Big Ten player with more than 1,000 career points, 600 assists and 500 rebounds graduated after the 2013-2014 season and went undrafted, despite working out for several NBA teams, including the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards. 76ers head coach Brett Brown invited him to play for them at the 2014 Las Vegas Summer League within an hour after he was not selected in the draft, and averaged 3.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals in five games before being let go.

On September 29, 2014, the Boston Celtics signed Frazier to a non-guaranteed training camp deal and appeared in four preseason games at the top-level, where he went 1-for-2 from the field and recorded two rebounds, four assists and four steals. He was waived during roster cuts in late October, but was acquired by the Maine Red Claws four days later.

While not making the final cut was disappointing, Frazier was able to learn from the Boston point guards — Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Phil Pressey and Marcus Smart — and gain some valuable experience at the next level.

“It was definitely beneficial,” Frazier told the Portland Press Herald. “I learned some great things. I got a taste of the NBA and I can’t wait to get back up there.”

While playing for #CrustaceanNation, Frazier has developed a reputation as a clutch player. In his first D-League game, Frazier contributed 18 points, 9 assists, and 4 rebounds against the Oklahoma City Blue, and shot 12-of-12 on free throws down the stretch to help the team win its first game. In the team’s second game against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Frazier sank a crucial free throw with a fraction of a second remaining to give the Red Claws a one-point lead before intentionally missing the second to ensure the victory.

“He’s got a reputation as a guy who steps up in key moments,” coach Scott Morrison said. “And so far, he’s definitely shown that he’s got a clutch gene in him.”

After it looked like Frazier would lose his senior season to a ruptured Achilles tendon, he was granted a fifth-year of eligibility by the NCAA and averaged 14.9 points per game on the season to go with a Big Ten-leading 5.4 assists per game and 1.6 steals per game. For a guy who’s battled through injury and heartbreak throughout his career, he’s on the precipice of doing the improbable — playing in the NBA.

“If he cleans up some other things he has to work on,” Morrison said, “then he’ll be a real tough player in this league and, hopefully, at the next level as well.”

About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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