Penn State Basketball: Frazier Boosts Production, Takes Leadership Role as Returning Starter

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Just a few short weeks ago, Tim Frazier stood alone in the middle of Rec Hall as the rapper Fabolos was performing a few of his hit songs for the Hoops Madness crowd. Despite the energy in the room, Frazier stood almost motionless, nodding his head to the beat.

There was something symbolic about that moment: the heir apparent to Talor Battle’s legacy taking a second to look over everything that had changed in such a short time. A new coach, new players, and new expectations all lay in front of a player who has gone from a single-digit scorer to the face of a young team looking to rebuild a program.

“You try not to put that pressure on yourself, but it is what it is,” Frazier said. “I'm the only returning starter from the team that made the NCAA Tournament last year. I try not to put as much pressure on myself and just lead as a person, as the point guard on the team, as a starter, but at the same time spread it along with Cam (Woodyard) and Billy (Oliver).”

Even without Battle on the Nittany Lions' roster, Frazier still carries the lessons he learned from one of Penn State’s all-time great players.

“Talor was definitely a great leader and a great brother to me,” Frazier said. “I took as much as I could from him day in and day out when I first stepped on the court. He taught me about being the vocal leader out on the court and leading by example.”

Penn State fans would have excused Frazier if the road had been bumpy for him early on. Frazier had averaged only six points a game the previous two seasons, and was often called upon to generate offense with his speed and passing ability. All admirable skills to have, but as the only returning starter, Frazier needed to pick up his production.

And he has.

In Wednesday night’s game against Youngstown State, Frazier scored 20 points and recorded 10 assists, giving him his third double-double and fourth game with 20 or more points this season. The leap in production has helped a young Nittany Lion team put together an early-season 5-1 record and taken some of the first-year coaching woes off of Pat Chambers.

The road only gets tougher for Frazier and the Nittany Lions. The non-conference schedule is slowly winding down, and the physical and demanding Big Ten conference will become the sole focus of a team whose roster is dominated by untested players.

Many players would find the added pressure of leadership to be a burden too great to carry. Frazier has taken on his responsibility on and off the court, a testament to the teachings of Battle and the maturity of a new leader looking to help his team at any opportunity.

“A leader is nothing without people behind him,” Frazier said, addressing the media. “My teammates put me in a position to succeed, and I try and do the same for them.”

by Ben Jones of StateCollege.com