Up Goes (Former Nittany Lion) Frazier

Penn State product has record-setting night after Sixers summon him from D-League.

Former Penn State guard Tim Frazier made his NBA debut Friday night, lending a helping hand to the Philadelphia 76ers in a game at Boston.

While Philly dropped a 107-96 decision, Frazier had an impressive performance after joining the team with basically no preparation following a late-week call-up from the NBA's D-League team in Maine.

Playing on a 10-day contract, Frazier finished with a game-high 11 assists in the first NBA game of his career, matching the total posted by the rest of his team. His 35 minutes tied for second most on the team. But that doesn't begin to tell the whole story.

According to the site basketball-reference.com, Frazier is the only NBA player in the last 30 years to come off the bench and have 11 or more assists in his NBA debut. The same site noted that Sixer Michael Carter-Williams, current Portland point guard Damian Lillard and future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd are the only NBA players in the last three decades to log 11 or more assists in their league debuts.

A Philadelphia native who began his head coaching career at Boston U., Nittany Lion coach Pat Chambers was keeping an eye on the game while also poring over video of Saturday's opponent, Nebraska.

“What a gutty kid, to go through what he's gone through and keep his dream alive,” Chambers said, referring to the ruptured Achilles that cost Frazier most of the 2012-13 season at PSU and then limited him to about 75 percent in his final campaign of 2013-14. “I was anxious, like I'd be for my own son. It's just an incredible story for what Tim has overcome.

“And from a selfish perspective, it's good for our program,” he added. “Now we can say we had a hand in developing an NBA player.”

With the starting point guard Carter-Williams sidelined by a foot injury, Philadelphia started 6-foot-8 Jakarr Sampson at the point. But Philly found itself in a deep hole early -- and trailed by as many as 26 in the first half. So Frazier ended up handling the point for most of the game.

The Sixers actually cut the deficit to three at 83-80 in the fourth quarter, before Boston pulled away.

Nevertheless, Philadelphia coach Brett Brown was impressed by Frazier's play, calling it, “a great story.”

“You shake a kid's hand yesterday, and you give him the ball,” Brown said after the game. “And it was clear at the start, JaKarr was no point guard. He's trying. So, you know, you had to milk Tim. You don't really have anything to go to. You can't run plays. You've got no winks or blinks or notions within our structure. Let's just guard and run.

“But, for Tim to come from Maine, and drive up 95 and change his uniform and go get 34 minutes in an NBA game, that's a hell of a story. To that kid's credit, he delivered, he did well.”

Chambers chalked up Frazier's poor shooting (2 of 9 from the field, 1 of 5 from the line) to nerves. But he said his former player looked right at home in many areas where it mattered most.

“He played hard,” the PSU coach said. “He looked strong and fast and tough. … I thought he looked fearless. He went out and just played.”

It may be a while before Philadelphia decides whether it wants to sign Frazier for the rest of the season. The Sixers face Charlotte Saturday and Golden State Monday, both at home, before getting an 11-day break for the NBA All-Star game.


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