Could this be the best recruiting class yet for Penn State's Ed DeChellis? Judging by the comments of Wayne Jones, head coach at Strake Jesuit in Houston, Texas, the Lions may have pulled off a huge steal by landing Rivals150 point guard Tim Frazier.
Frazier, a 6-foot-2, 160 pound point guard, led Jesuit to a 37-1 record this past season, averaging 16 points a game, six boards, four assists and three steals for the Crusaders. He earned tremendous accolades in the process, including the designation as the No. 1 overall player in the state of Texas by TexasHoops.com as well as the Boys Basketball Player of the Year by the Houston Chronicle.
He is Rivals.com's No. 20-ranked point guard in the class of 2009, and he's heading to Happy Valley to play for DeChellis and the Nittany Lions this summer.
BWI caught up with Frazier's coach at Jesuit, Wayne Jones, to discuss his considerable talent, his future at Penn State and more.
BWI: Obviously Tim has done some tremendous things this past season. Can you tell me a little bit about him as a player?
Jones: Yeah. Tim is by far one of the best all-around guards in this country. Tim has one of the best understandings of the game of any kid I've ever coached. Tim is as quick with and without the basketball as any guard probably in this country. He led us in just about every statistical category that we had this season. He was named the No. 1 player in the state of Texas. He was named the No. 1 player in the greater Houston area and he also made the class 5A all-state team.
BWI: And you guys were very successful as a team this season too...
Jones: We were 37-1 and we were ranked as high this year as No. 5 in most of the major polls.
BWI: What does Tim specifically bring to the team that allowed you guys to be so successful?
Jones: Leadership. Athleticism. The ability to score.
(Note: Technical difficulties cut off Jones full answer to the question, forcing me to abbreviate it here.)
BWI: What made Penn State successful in recruiting Tim?
Jones: Whenever they could come out, they were here. Coach Earl stayed in contact with me. Coach Earl stayed in contact with his immediate family. They reached out to everyone. And, Coach DeChellis' record, the ability to play in the Big Ten, the academic component - because Tim is an excellent student here, he'll probably graduate from... Jesuit is one of the best high schools in the country, and he'll probably graduate in the top five percent here. And, Coach Earl just did an incredible job. Being a point guard, you understand how to recruit point guards and he sold Tim on everything you need to sell him on.
BWI: Geographically, this is a huge move for Tim. What do you think made it comfortable for him to do it?
Jones: I just think the whole atmosphere, the family atmosphere that when Tim and his mother and his sister went up and visited, the visit was incredible. The ability to get home and get back, location has never been a real big issue with Tim. Him having to stay in the area was not a big deal for him. But, just the way Penn State proposed and sold themselves to Tim and his mother, he just fell in love with it.
BWI: When Tim came back from that visit, was he glowing about it right away? Did he indicate to you that he knew then and there?
Jones: He really, really liked it. He liked it a tremendous amount. Penn State went to the top of his list but he also did take a couple of other visits just to have something to compare it to and to make sure that was the place for him to be. He took a couple of visits and then he pulled the cord on Penn State.
BWI: I'm sure both you and Tim know the recent struggles the program has gone through in the past five years or so but obviously this past year the program really came along. What was his reaction to you as it started to succeed?
Jones: Well, it's a lot like the basis of the program when he came here. His first year here, I think we won 10-12 games and we progressively got better in the time that Tim has been a part of our program. From where we went from a 10-12 win team to where we went 37-1 his senior year. He can see that exact same thing going on at Penn State so he's been through the process before so going through the process again is something that he's accustomed to and it's really not that big of a deal.
BWI: Going back to your season, what happened in the state semifinals loss to DeSoto?
Jones: DeSoto had an incredible game plan, they executed their game plan, they played extremely well and we missed some critical shots down the stretch and they made their free throws at the end and we ended up losing by four. It was a great basketball game. We don't hold our head down about it because DeSoto went ahead and won the state championship. It was one of those things. It was an incredible ride and we really appreciated the journey.
BWI: How did Tim react to it?
Jones: It took time for all of us to get past it. We were all disappointed because we felt like we were the better team but on that night, DeSoto played the best. Yeah, he was disappointed and it took some time to get over it but now we've put it behind us and we're going to continue to look back at the journey and not so much that last basketball game.
BWI: You've already touched on a lot of Tim's strengths on the court and off. What are a few areas that he still needs work with maybe this summer or just in general for his game?
Jones: The thing that he's been working on, and Tim's the type of kid, he gets up here at 5 o'clock in the morning, 5:30 in the morning, he gets his workout in before school. He's the type of kid that he works out here at school. He has athletic period. He's a senior and doesn't have to come to athletic period but he's here every day and and then he works out three days a week with another personal trainer. So, he's putting his work in. He's doing it and the things he's working really, really hard on now are being able to be a knock down jump shooter. He's so quick that people are going to play off of him and he's going to have to make a couple shots to make people step up on him and then he can really work his true game from there.
BWI: Is he trying to put on some weight?
Jones: Tim eats like a horse. His metabolism is too fast right now though.
BWI: Did the coaching staff indicate where they want him to be?
Jones: No one has indicated anything like that. He has his strength and conditioning six week workout and I think when finals are over we'll jump right on that and he'll be in the weight room and we'll get going from there.
BWI: Penn State already has a kid playing for them at 160 pounds. Is the prospect of playing with Talor exciting for Tim?
Jones: From everything he's indicated to me, he's looking forward to being a part of the program.
BWI: Any favorite stories about Tim or things to add?
Jones: I just think he is an incredible individual as well as he is a basketball player and I think Penn State is getting the all-around recruit. He doesn't have people... certain kids out here today have their handlers and all that type of stuff. He's just a well-grounded, well-rounded family kid that's going to go to Penn State and play for four years, and get a great degree. I'm looking forward and he's looking forward to the opportunities he's going to get in Happy Valley.