Posts tagged ‘Patrick Chambers’
Sitting quietly at his locker on Tuesday night, 90 minutes before tip-off, Tim Frazier was busy with one of the NBA’s most enduring pregame rituals: filling out envelopes.
Frazier was in Philadelphia with the rest of the New Orleans Pelicans for a mostly meaningless late-season games against the Sixers; “meaningless,” of course, being a relative term. Neither team will make the playoffs this season, so it didn’t mean much in the standings. But for Frazier ’13, ’14, a second-year player looking to establish himself as an NBA regular, every game—every possession, really—is a chance to prove himself worthy. For guys like Frazier, every game matters.
He didn’t seem to be feeling the pressure before the game, filling out envelopes for the comp tickets he was leaving for some friends. Times like these, Frazier looks like a seasoned vet, calmly handling one of the NBA’s more mundane tasks. His focus now is on showing that same sort of veteran composure and production on the court.
His story should be familiar to Penn State fans: Undrafted in 2014, he spent most of the 2014-15 season in the NBA’s developmental league, where he was nothing short of dominant, winning D-League Rookie of the Year and MVP honors. That effort earned him brief call-ups last season with the Sixers and Blazers, and it was Portland that signed him for the 2015-16 season. But the Blazers’ backcourt depth mostly relegated Frazier to the bench this season, and he went back to the D-League, nearly averaging a triple-double for the Maine Red Claws in eight D-League games.
Signed by the injury-ravaged Pelicans three weeks ago, he’s been better than good so far in New Orleans, posting a career-high 19 points and 13 assists last weekend in a win over Brooklyn. He was slated to start against the Sixers, the team that gave him his first, brief NBA opportunity. In the locker room pregame, seeing a familiar face from his days at Penn State—where he finished his career as the Nittany Lions’ all-time assist leader and one of the most complete players in program history—he’s happy to take a minute to look back, and to look ahead.
He says he keeps as close an eye on his alma mater as his schedule will allow, talking regularly with coach Patrick Chambers, who made the drive down to Philly for the game. He’s heard plenty about the Nittany Lions’ incoming recruiting class, potentially the best in program history, and a group loaded with Philly talent. He speaks regularly with teammates from his time in Portland; he and Damian Lillard, the Blazers’ star point guard with whom Frazier became particularly close, are in daily contact, and he says Lillard will watch his games and offer advice and critiques.
It’s suggested that the biggest difference in Frazier’s game this season is simple confidence. “So much,” he concurs, his eyes going big with acknowledgment. Unlike the rookie who was called up late last season and thrown into the NBA fire, he understands the importance of looking for his own shot. His on-court unselfishness worked against him at times last season, as he almost never looked for his own shot, even when left open. As he showed with that 19-point outburst last weekend, or his 10-point first quarter against the Sixers Tuesday night, it’s one of the many lessons Frazier has learned since.
He also had five assists in the first quarter Tuesday, and for all practical purposes he was the best player on the floor as the Pelicans built an eight-point lead. But they lost it when he went to the bench for a breather, and as the game went on, the Pelicans looked every bit like a team with its top six scorers out injured, fielding a roster of unfamiliar call-ups in their place. The Sixers ended up running away with the game, winning 107-93. Frazier’s stat line—12 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals—was probably the most impressive on the team.
His contract with New Orleans guarantees him a spot through the end of the regular season, now just a week away. Asked if he has a hunch about what happens next, Frazier is blunt: “July 1,” he says. That’s the date NBA teams can begin negotiating with free agents. Until then, he’ll keep looking for chances to make his case.
Ryan Jones, deputy editor
Hey, man, nice shot: Macklemore is a popular rap-singer—we think that’s what the kids call ’em—who brought his popular rap-singing act to the Bryce Jordan Center last night. The Collegian gave the show an “A,” and that’s without even counting Macklemore’s apparent basketball prowess. Per his Instagram account:
And speaking of hoops: College basketball is back. The Lady Lions—ranked No. 13 and 15 in the preseason coaches and media polls, respectively—open the season tonight when they host St. Francis (Pa.) at 7 p.m. Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Maggie Lucas leads the way for Penn State, which will hoist its 2013 Big Ten championship banner before the game.
The Nittany Lions open their season Saturday with a 4 p.m. home game against Wagner. We’ll take this opportunity to plug our profile and video of all-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier ’13, and an exclusive Q&A with coach Patrick Chambers over at The Football Letter blog.
Far afield: The busy sports weekend continues on the road, starting Friday morning when the Penn State field hockey team—which already wrapped up its second straight regular-season league title—faces Iowa in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. The game will air live on BTN at 10 a.m. today. And if all that sounds familiar, pay attention: The women’s soccer team also plays Iowa today in the semifinals of the B1G tournament—that game kicks off at noon, and will also air live on BTN.
Smith’s bad week gets worse: David Smith, the SUNY Upstate Medical Center president who was reportedly close to being announced as Penn State’s new president, has stepped down from his role while SUNY reviews his compensation.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Expanded content from the pages of The Penn Stater.
We were talking with Tim Frazier a few weeks back in the otherwise quiet practice gym at the Bryce Jordan Center. Off in the far corner, out of camera view, Frazier’s coach, Patrick Chambers, was chugging away on an exercise bike. Frazier started talking, but he got distracted. He tried to ignore the whirrrrr of his coach on the bike, but finally, after about 20 seconds, he couldn’t ignore it anymore.
“I just hear a bike in the background, and it just reminds me…” Frazier said. “When [my teammates] were running and doing sprints, I was on the bike. When they weren‘t doing sprints, I was on the bike.”
He can laugh about it now. Frazier ’13 was talking about the months-long rehab that followed the ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered last November, just four games into the 2012–13 season. (And yes, as Frazier mentions, it’s the same injury his older sister suffered while playing for Rice in 2006). A first-team all-Big Ten pick as a junior in 2011–12, Frazier came into last season intending to put himself and his team in the national spotlight. Instead, he watched from the bench in a suit, and spent practice time—hours and hours of practice time—churning away on that bike.
Now, Frazier is back, healthy—”100 percent,” he insists—and eager to make up for lost time.
Frazier was an easy choice for the athlete profile in our November/December issue—not least because he’s so darn good. As a junior, the 6-foot-1 guard from Houston led the Lions in points, rebounds, assists, and steals, becoming the first Penn State player to total at least 500 points, 150 assists, and 50 steals in a season. His 198 assists set a new single-season school record, and he led the Big Ten in steals. Maybe most impressive of all his numbers, his combined field goals and assists accounted for 58 percent of the Lions’ offense—the highest rate in the nation.
He was back on the court this summer during the team’s three-game European tour, the “appetizer” for the season to come. But neither that brief off-season excursion nor the handful of games he played before his injury last season gave fans a sufficient chance to see Frazier make the most of his pairing with DJ Newbill, the former transfer who led Penn State in scoring last year. Together, they give the Lions what Chambers last year predicted would be one of the best backcourts in the nation.
If the coach ends up being anywhere close to right, he might well credit the knowledge Frazier gleaned while watching from the bench last winter. More than once since his injury, Frazier has talked about the benefits of enforced time off the court: ample opportunity to fine tune various aspects of his game, and being forced to think and observe like a coach (oh, and he also finished his degree).
Frazier makes a great point, too, about his teammates: “Everybody got better.” For all the expectations that Frazier will come back at least as good as the do-everything all-Big Ten pick of two seasons ago, he’s surrounded by a supporting cast that, he hopes, will be much more than just a “supporting cast.” Regardless, we’re excited to see him out there. And it sounds like Frazier is just happy to be off the bike.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
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A “legend” passes: Larry Foster ’48, a giant of the public relations industry and one of Penn State’s most prominent and dedicated alumni, died Thursday. He was 88. Foster’s great impact on the PR world came in the early 1980s, when he guided Johnson & Johnson’s response to the infamous and still-unsolved Tylenol poisoning of 1982. It remains a case study in the right way to handle a corporate PR crisis. His impact on his alma mater has been similarly profound. Along with his wife, Ellen Miller ’49, Foster was a generous and far-sighted donor to Penn State, and particularly to the College of Communications, where they endowed faculty positions and scholarships and supported renovations to the Carnegie Building. A three-term member of the Board of Trustees, Foster also served as president of the Alumni Association, and was instrumental in creating the Alumni Fellows program.
Courting success: The men’s basketball team held its preseason media day Thursday, and while third-year coach Patrick Chambers wouldn’t be specific about how many wins he’s aiming for, or whether this squad has NCAA tournament potential, he made one thing clear: He likes this team. (more…)
From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.
World class: Another ranking has given Penn Staters something to crow about. This time, it’s the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which lists Penn State 49th out of 400 institutions from around the globe. We’re one of eight Big Ten schools ranked in the top 100. You can find the complete list and details on the methodology here.
A distinguished duo: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, are coming to University Park on Nov. 4 as part of the Student Programming Association’s Distinguished Speaker Series.
Careful while canning: It’s a story that comes up every year around this time: Students who travel for canning weekends (more…)
For one night in December, the rims will be rocking again in Rec Hall.
It’s long been rumored (and long been lobbied for by those of us with a particularly strong connection to the place), and on Wednesday, it became official: The Nittany Lions will host Princeton on Saturday, Dec. 14, in the gym the program called home for nearly seven decades. The announcement was made by athletic director Dave Joyner ’72, ’76g, who was flanked in the Bryce Jordan Center media room by current Nittany Lion coach Patrick Chambers and by Bruce Parkhill, the man who led Penn State to some of its finest moments in Rec Hall.
The return to the old building has been a long time coming. Chambers said they’ve been working on it for at least a year, figuring out the logistics of playing a basketball game in a building that is no longer set up for hoops. That means a portable floor being brought in and set up in the days before the game, figuring out ticketing allotments, and the smaller but no less vital details—Will there be enough parking? Will there be enough bathrooms?—familiar to anyone who remembers packing into Rec Hall for basketball back in the day. But they figured it out, and for Chambers, the motivation was simple.
“We listened to our fans,” Chambers said. “We listened to our alums. We listened to our former players. We heard you.”
For guys like me—a front-row season-ticket holder for two seasons in the mid ’90s—the nostalgic pull of Rec Hall is obvious. It was great to see Parkhill, who was so terrific to talk to last year for our feature on the ‘93 Penn State-Indiana game, at the podium and clearly excited about the game. But the real treat is seeing how people with little or no connection to Rec Hall as a hoop venue are just as excited. Andrew Jones ’11, the former Nittany Lion big man who returned to the program in June to work as a graduate assistant (and who played all his home games in the BJC), tweeted “I still can’t believe this game is happening!!! Bittersweet but awesome nonetheless.” And current students like Maddy Pryor and Darnell Brady, members of the Nittany Nation student supporters section, were at Wednesday’s press conference to unveil the “Return to Rec” banners. They can’t wait.
Neither can I. Now if only I can get my old seats back in the front row…
Ryan Jones, senior editor