The Frasor camp has battened down the hatches for the storm that has blown into the Windy City today. Bobby Frasor is back from the famed unofficial visit to Chapel Hill where he took an up-close look Monday at the North Carolina campus and program. He was in town for the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, which is played on the campuses of UNC, Duke and NC State, and this was in fact a return trip for him. Frasor also played at the TOC last year, but it was only in the last 40 days that the Tarheels became a real option for his college future.
At the end of the April evaluation period, UNC head coach Roy Williams caught a series of eye-opening games that Frasor played at the Kingwood Classic in Houston. The day after the event concluded, North Carolina put an offer on the table for the red-hot Chicago point guard. Soon thereafter an unofficial visit was scheduled, but only in the last 24 hours has it struck the basketball community how impactful that would be to the recruitment of the #4 floor general in America. The student-athlete and his parents returned home last night, and a deluge of phone calls has not stopped since. Bob Frasor Sr. is a coach for his son's AAU team, the Illinois Wolves, and that loophole allows college coaches to place calls to speak with him - even during this NCAA quiet period. Layer on top of that the intense media scrutiny, and you can understand why the Brother Rice High School standout is being protected from the telephonic attack.
I was fortunate enough to speak with Bob Sr., though, to get the latest on this closely watched recruiting battle. Though he is not tipping his hand to indicate any leaning he or his son might have, he did have news about the timeframe of events we expect to unfold.
"We as a family are meeting together tomorrow with Bobby's coach to talk this all out," the father reveals. "By the time we are done, he will have decided one of two things. He will decide where he's going to go or narrow down the list to two or three schools."
Word has been hot from Camp Carolina that the Frasors were blown away by Monday's UNC visit, with any Heel addict who can get to a keyboard predicting an imminent commitment to Roy Williams. Frasor's father is not opening up too much on how well they liked or disliked the visit.
"It was pretty much the same as what you get on an official visit, minus a few things. We had a chance to meet with Coach Williams and some academic advisors. Bobby did get a chance to talk with about five or six of the players, though not at the length of an official visit," the elder Frasor describes. "It was a good experience. They are very enthusiastic about their basketball there at North Carolina."
The other important note shared by the point guard's father is that he and Bobby were going to call Stanford head coach Trent Johnson later today for an exploratory phone call. Last week they spoke within a couple hours of the hiring press conference, but that was an introductory call. The Frasors told me last week that they would want to continue talking with Johnson, so this is expected.
The 6'3" rising senior recruit also told me last week that he thought he would likely be in a position after the UNC unofficial to make a decision. The other possibility would be a winnowing of his school list down to a choice final few. One week later, Bob Sr. says that Wednesday will indeed bring one of these two outcomes. Speculating fans have figured that any decision this week must necessarily go in favor of North Carolina because that commitment would be fresh off the Chapel Hill visit. However, Frasor actually predicted this would happen before he had such a reportedly favorable time at UNC. Thus the timing of this decision tells us little about what commitment outcome we will see.
Additionally, there has been some question as to whether Stanford would make the grade if Wednesday brings a list reduction rather than a commitment. Frasor unhesitatingly told me last week that the Cardinal would make any cut to come this week.
Camp Frasor may not be giving us enough clues to feed our insatiable thirst today, but Brother Rice head coach Pat Richardson can help fill the gaps. While Bob Sr. is savvy to the recruiting process, going back to his basketball playing days at Wisconsin in the early 1970s as well as his long tenure as a Chicagoland coach, Richardson has been an important mentor to his star guard through this entire operation.
"We've had seven or eight players go to Division I schools, though mostly to mid-majors and nobody at this level of recruitment," the renowned Chicago coach explains. "The Frasors have been doing a good job managing everything and have been able to not get overwhelmed. My role has been to push Bobby to prioritize what factors are most important to him - just want him to consider things."
Richardson lists all the dimensions that recruits consider: playing time, style of play, distance, campus feel, head coaching reputation, coaching relationships, player relationships, academics, depth chart, etc. One of the factors that hits home for Frasor more than some of his peers is the players.
"I think that's one of the most important things for [Bobby]," the coach offers. "He knows those guys will be his friends for life after school. During school, he'll spend a tremendous amount of time with them in the locker room, in hotels, at airports and in the classroom."
If this does prove to be one of the deciding factors in how Frasor makes his final decision, then North Carolina is currently at a disadvantage. The recruit had far less time, and less meaningful time at that, with the players at UNC than what he enjoyed at Marquette and Stanford. And without being too controversial, I think it is a reasonable proposition that he felt a superior fit on The Farm. After he returned from the trip that weekend, he noted how many of the Stanford players repeatedly told him "you belong here." Frasor could not disagree.
Carolina reports suggest, however, that the Chicago recruit was floored by his trip. Though we are disturbingly short on firsthand quotes from the young man, describing the visit experience in his own words, it is believable that he had a great time. As Richardson points out, you would not expect Bobby Frasor to come off a trip with any other reaction.
"I'll be honest with you," the Crusaders head coach begins. "When he came back from Marquette, they were his number one school. When he came back from Stanford, they were number one. He's a very likeable kid who makes great connections with people."
One of the perceived advantages that the Heels hold over the Cardinal comes in the head coaching department. While the Stanford players, administrators and fans are frankly sky high on Trent Johnson's future on The Farm, a recruit might have cold feet committing to a coach who has to date proven less on the court than a Roy Williams, for example. While Mike Montgomery sat on the throne, that battle would be neutral at best for UNC. It is a question we have asked Frasor and his father before, but what does Richardson think of the hit Stanford took in this recruitment when Montgomery left for the Golden State Warriors?
"I don't think Bobby was visiting Stanford for Coach Montgomery," the Brother Rice coach answers. "I know that sounds bad, but what I mean to say is that Montgomery was not the initial attraction for Bobby. He didn't have a lot of contact with the head coach like he did with the assistants, and they have all stayed on. bobby almost took an official visit back in the season, long before Montgomery came out to visit him. He wouldn't have visited Stanford if he didn't like Montgomery when he was there, but they had the May visit setup already. It was the University that attracted him. Academically, Stanford is in a different situation than the others."
So let's cut to the chase. What does Bobby Frasor's coach think his star point guard is going to do on Wednesday?
"I asked his father today what his gut feeling was and he said he had no clue what Bobby would do," Richardson reveals. "My gut feeling is that he has ranked a few schools in his head, but he hasn't finished sorting them out. Stanford, Marquette, North Carolina, Michigan State - they're all up there. I think it's 50/50 whether he make the commitment now or just narrows it to a few."
And so we wait. With so many college coaches and media outlets clinging to this story, news will likely travel quickly when it breaks on Wednesday. Stay tuned to The Bootleg's front page and premium message boards for all the latest info as we hear it for this most fascinating of recruiting stories. The Bobby Frasor Watch is in high gear.
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