Jason Fraser Feature
by Jeff Goodman
05.21.01 - A year ago Jason Fraser was an unknown who lacked self-assurance. Now he has a scholarship offer on the table from North Carolina and is oozing with confidence.
The Amityville High (N.Y.) 6-foot-10, 210-pound junior was coming off a solid sophomore campaign, but the only bites he had received entering the Five-Star Camp were from Rider College - and a general : questionnaire from Cincinnati.
Fraser exploded at the AAU event, winning MVP honors and touching off a frenzy that had virtually every school from the Northeast wanting to secure his services.
But even after a strong showing at the ABCD camp last July in which he displayed his aggressiveness as one of the elite rebounders and shot-blockers, it wasn't until the beginning of the school year that North Carolina began to show serious interest.
"Carolina came in later and at first, when my coach told me they were recruiting me, it didn't really hit me," says Fraser. "Coach (Matt) Doherty is one of those coaches that can raise your game mentally."
Fraser is also looking at St. John's, Maryland, Villanova and UConn, but there's a hitch in his plans.
"The main reason why I can't make a decision right away is because I'm planning on going wherever Curtis Sumpter goes."
The pair met last year when Fraser joined Sumper, a 6-foot-6 junior at Bishop Loughlin High (N.Y.) on the Long Island Panthers. Sumpter has also been offered by the Tar Heels, and like Fraser, has St. John's, Maryland and Villanova on his list of finalists.
"We click real well on the court and know what each other is going to do before we do it," says Sumpter. "He's a dominant defensive player."
While Fraser says he is hinging his plans on Sumpter, the Bishop Loughlin standout isn't quite as committed to following Fraser.
"I would love to go to school with Jason and have no problem with that at all," says Sumper. "We all call him The Lawyer because he just talks so much. He's so funny - if you say something, he's always got to argue and get in the last word. He's outspoken and is honest. Basically, he just tells it like it is."
Fraser has started all three seasons at Amityville and averaged 21 points, 15 rebounds and 8 blocks this past year. He has improved his offensive game over the last year, but still needs to become more selfish and look for his shot.
"I know I still have to prove I can score," adds Fraser, whose favorite player to watch is Rasheed Wallace. "I can be dominant inside and on defense I think I play like (Dikembe) Mutombo."
Fraser claims he has no leader, but by the looks of things, he'll probably end up with Sumpter at either UNC, St. John's, Maryland or Villanova. They will take an unofficial visit to Chapel Hill next weekend when they play at the Tournament of Champions.