Nov. 29, 2013
By Steve Irvine, UABSports.com
Jay Powell, the head coach at Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College, never bothered sticking to a label on where Chad Frazier fit into the lineup while making a huge contribution to his team the past two seasons.
Officially, Frazier was the team’s starting point guard as a freshman and split time between point guard and shooting guard during his sophomore season. What was important, though, was the 6-foot-4 Charlotte, N.C. native, who is currently playing at a high level during his first season at UAB, produced wherever he was on the court.
“Chad is a competitive guy,” said Powell. “He enjoys going out to try to prove that he’s better than the person lined up across from him. I don’t know that he necessarily gets caught up too much in positions, whether he’s playing off the ball at the two-guard spot or handling the ball at the point guard spot. I always kind of thought as Chad more of a really good basketball player that wanted to compete and try to win.”
Success certainly has followed Frazier during his basketball career. He was one the team leaders, along with current Wake Forest guard Codi Miller-McIntyre, as a senior when First Assembly Christian School in Concord, N.C. finished 28-3. Frazier averaged 24 points during that season.
“I’ve coached 17 years and I’ve told several people that he may have been the best player I’ve ever had,” said First Assembly Christian head coach Dave Murr.
Frazier attended three different high schools. He spent two years at West Mecklenburg High in Charlotte, attended North Carolina Metrolina Christian as a junior and finished at First Assembly Christian. Murr, who coached one of Chad’s older brothers, learned how special Frazier was as a player early in the season when his team won a tournament that included schools with larger enrollments.
“In semifinals, we played Hickory Ridge, which is a pretty good sized public school around here, and Chad had 38 points, seven rebounds and four steals in that game and we ended up beating them by 12,” Murr said. “We turned around the next night and had to play (host) Cherryville in the championship, our third game in three days, and he had 20-plus points in that game and six rebounds. I don’t think they had lost their tournament in several years but we beat them. I think he kind of knew it was his team at that point as much as anybody.”
Murr said Frazier handled the role in a quiet manner.
“He didn’t say a whole lot but when he did, I think the guys responded to it,” Murr said. “He is kind of a quiet kid but certainly wasn’t quiet once he got onto the court. Everybody looked to him as a leader on his team.”
Murr said several Division I colleges stopped by to look at Frazier but he went the junior college route. Frazier said his growth as a player – literally – began in the weight room once he arrived at Gulf Coast.
“I came in and my max on the bench press was 130 pounds and when I left it was 255,” Frazier said. “I never lifted in high school, I just beat everybody on my talent.”
He was part of a young lineup as a freshman on a team that finished 13-15 in one of the most rugged junior college conferences in the nation. As a sophomore, Frazier averaged 15.6 points, 4.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds to help his team finish 20-9. He also received increased recruiting attention, settling on Oklahoma State at one point and later committing to Texas A&M. UAB head coach Jerod Haase and assistant coach Richie Riley got heavily involved in the recruitment after Frazier de-committed from Texas A&M. The Blazers quickly moved to the top of his list.
“Coach Haase and his staff were very honest with me,” Frazier said. “To be honest, I wanted to play the point guard at the next level, I wanted to be a 1-2, not a 2-1. They were very upfront with me, which I really liked.”
Obviously, Frazier has fit nicely into the lineup. He’s had little trouble putting the ball in the basket, averaging a team-best 18.4 points per game. He reached double figures in all seven games thus far and the two-game stretch during the Charleston Classic when he scored 34 points against New Mexico and 32 points against Nebraska marked only the fourth time in school history that a UAB player scored at least 30 points in back-to-back games. He has hit 45.2 percent of his shots overall from the field, is 9-of-28 on 3-pointers and has made 81.5 percent of his free throws.
However, he is still adjusting to playing the point guard position at the Division I level. Frazier has nearly as many turnovers (34) as he does assists (37) and is determined to change that ratio.
“This whole week, I’m just going to watch film of myself, see what I’m doing wrong and pick my spots better so I can limit my turnovers,” Frazier said after Wednesday’s win over Florida A&M.
Haase, whose team plays nationally-ranked North Carolina on Sunday at Bartow Arena, is confident that the hard work will pay off in the end.
“He’s not a true point guard but he is a true great player,” Haase said. “We just need to evolve that and make sure he’s making good decisions and be the best point guard he can.”