With a need for size it didn’t take long for the new Arkansas state coaching staff to find Shaquillo Fritz.
Highly regarded coming out of the Freeport, Bahamas, the 6-foot-9 Fritz has bounced around while pursuing his dream of playing Division I basketball. Now at Paris (Texas) Junior College, Fritz is planning a visit to Arkansas State this weekend.
“I’m very excited about my visit,’’ he said. “I have never been to Arkansas.
“The coaches said they wanted someone who can protect the rim and that is what I am good at,’’ said Fritz, who weighs 215 pounds. “That and getting rebounds.”
He attended prep school in Arizona and Florida and started his junior college career at Miami Dade and left there after a year because of a coaching and wound up with coach Bobby Taylor at Paris, Texas.
“I think Shaq's best basketball is ahead of him and whoever gets him will be pleased with eagerness to get better,’’ said Taylor. “He's already an elite level rim-protector and solid rebounder, but needs to continue to develop his offensive skills in order to become a complete player"
Rated the top power forward from the Caribbean coming out of high school, changing junior colleges limited his minutes and stats but a strong showing in a juco showcase after the season helped his stock.
In the Bahamas, Darrell Sears coached Fritz for three years and still talks to him regularly.
“When he came to me he was an empty piece of paper,’’ he said. “We had the paint and the brush. He still has more to develop. If he gets to where he can score from 10-15 feet someday he will make some money.
“Athletically he is a high major player. His skill level is low to mid-major. He can jump and he runs the floor like a gazelle. He is a great rim and lane protector but he has more to develop.”
Sears has now new A-State coach Mike Balado since his days
“The Arkansas State coaches watched me in a combine and they liked that why saw,’’ said Fritz. “They told me what they were looking for and what kind of team they had and the felt I could contribute.
“They told me the system they want to run will be more pressure and more defense and they would help me work on my offense. They want me to protect the rim.”
In Arizona, Fritz was a high jump state champion at 6-foot-8. He has a 40-inch vertical and a 72-inch wing span. He also played at well-know IMG Prep school in Florida where he averaged 8 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocked shots a game.