COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 25: Tim Frazier #23 of the Penn State Nittany Lions attempts to drive around William Buford #44 of the Ohio State Buckeyes as Cammeron Woodyard #24 of the Penn State Nittany Lions sets the pick on January 25, 2012 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Penn State 78-54. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The Nittany Lions' point guard has come a long way, but still has plenty of room to grow.
SB Nation Pittsburgh is profiling the Penn State basketball team's major contributors from last season, highlighting positives they can build upon and negatives they can work to improve this summer as they prepare for the 2012-2013 season. Today's subject: Tim Frazier
Stepping into a legend's shoes isn't easy, but Penn State point guard Tim Frazier did about as good a job picking up where all-time leading scorer and 2011 graduate Talor Battle left off as any Nittany Lions fan could have asked for heading into 2011-2012.
The Houston, Texas native broke out to average a robust 18.8 points, 6.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game and earned first team All-Big Ten honors despite his team's lousy 4-14 conference record. By any measure, he asserted himself as one of the top point guards in the Big Ten, if not the nation, just a year after mostly playing a supporting role to Battle and three other seniors on the Lions 2010-2011 NCAA Tournament team.
Fortunately for the Lions, he still has a number of areas in which he can improve his game. A little fine-tuning and he has the potential to be one of the biggest two-way threats at any position in the country.
What He Did Well
-Perhaps the biggest key to Frazier's spike in point production was his development of a nearly unstoppable floater, which helped stabilize his offensive game even when he was having a rough night with his jumper. If he continues to deploy that shot regularly in the fall, it will continue to have devastating results.
-Despite measuring in at just 6-foot-1, Frazier terrorized opponents on the glass, frequently outperforming his own big men down low. And with Billy Oliver now out of the picture, Penn State will probably need Frazier to continue contributing on boards, even if Jonathan Graham and Sasa Borovnjak improve down low.
-Frazier made up for his excessive turnovers (discussed below) by racking up 76 steals and a 2.38 steals per game average, good for a No. 14 ranking nationally. He rarely took himself out of good defensive positions going for those thefts, too, showing he has a knack for finding the perfect time to pounce. Modest improvement in this area would be icing on the cake.
What He Can Improve
-Frazier's raw assist numbers show he did an effective job of getting his teammates involved on offense. There were times, though, when he tried to do too much with the ball and fell victim to reckless turnovers, reflected in his 1.69 assist-to-turnover, which ranked just 155th nationally in that department. If Frazier can push that number closer to 2.00 or 2.50, Penn State will be running a much more efficient offense.
-If there's one big hole in Frazier's offensive game, it's his 3-point shooting. He's never shot better than 37.5 percent from deep, an last season he set a career low figure of 31.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Many of his misses were well-guarded shots, which hopefully showed Frazier he's not quite proficient enough to shoot with a hand in his face regularly. He needs to do a better job of picking his spots this season and making that extra pass if the defense has him locked down.
-Frazier finished the season shooting 20-21 from the foul line in his last six games. That's an excellent percentage, but the volume averages out to just 3.33 made free throws per game. To make more effective use of his excellent foul shooting, Frazier should try to get to the stripe a little more often. If he can do that, defenders will give him a little more room in the lane down the line.