The last time we brought you a full feature story on Bobby Frasor, the Chicago point guard was digging into off-season training with the wounds of his junior season-ending loss still fresh in his mind. A 2-for-14 day from the field by the typically sure-handed shooter helped bounce his Brother Rice team in the sectional semifinals. It was only the second loss of the year for Brother Rice. Though the Windy City star hit for better than 40 percent from behind the arc on the year, he stood resolute that his shooting had to rise to much higher heights.
"I need to become a consistent shooter," Frasor said in March. "I want my teammates to know that I am automatic when I take a shot."
There was much conviction in his voice when I spoke with him a full six weeks ago, but little did I know that he would carry through with his mission so marvelously and so rapidly. One month later, Frasor flew to Houston with his Illinois Wolves teammates for their one national AAU event of the spring evaluation period. With a national cadre of coaches watching in the stands, Frasor "blew up" - in recruiting speak. That is to say that he put on such an alarmingly fantastic performance that his recruitment experienced a singular jump in intensity and breadth of national proportions.
Though Frasor played beautifully all weekend at the Kingwood Classic, it was one game against Team Texas that sent shockwaves through Space City. Team Texas is one of the best AAU clubs in the nation each and every year, but this year they boast a particularly elite lineup that includes the No. 2 small forward and No. 6 shooting guard in the 2005 class, plus the No. 7 junior power forward and a superb sophomore. That wing talent should have been able to shut down Frasor, as he plays the '2' in his AAU ball. Wolves teammate Bryan Mullins mans the point in the backcourt.
Frasor more than rose to the challenge against the big boys from the Lone Star State, draining his first nine shots of the game (including 5 of 5 from downtown) before missing his first and only shot in the final five minutes. It was one of those out-of-body experiences, the way the 6-3 sharpshooter stroked each shot in that famed performance. When his 10th shot missed the mark, there was a stunned gasp of amazement from the packed crowd.
"I've definitely improved," Frasor said last week. "I showed that I can go left, go right, create off the dribble and pull up."
"I'm going to shoot even better," he added, hard though that prediction may be to believe. "I can feel it. It's coming along every day."
Do not get the wrong idea, though, that this four-star guard is putting all his marbles into his shooting this spring. That happens to be what sizzled and grabbed national headlines. There is a much broader set of skills that Frasor is fomenting.
"My shooting grabbed their attention, but then they kept watching and saw my handle," Frasor said. "A big goal for me this spring is actually concentrating on defense. I want to shut guys down. The offensive skills are coming along at the same time. I'm also lifting [weights], though that's tough to do like I want to do. I have practices in the afternoons, open gyms in the evening and shooting in the morning."
Fans who see the above photo of Frasor from last fall see a skinny kid and wonder how well his body is taking to that weight room activity. While he has not exploded into a 210-pound body yet, he does have some anecdotal evidence of improvements in his strength and explosiveness.
"I used to one-foot dunk but now I can push off two feet," he illustrates.
These collective improvements, plus the sensational showings at the Kingwood in late April, have lifted Frasor to the No. 5 national ranking at the point guard position by TheInsiders. As was expected, a rush of attention from college coaches came as soon the tournament wrapped up April 25. There were still five days left in the month, allowing coaches one last week to come visit him at his high school. A mad rush of phone calls came as schools made their plea to enter the recruitment of this red-hot floor general, but several were turned away.
The Tarheels and Roy Williams put an offer on the table as quickly as that Monday. Kansas came in and pleaded for a visit. Schools that had been in contact but had not yet offered now hurried to do so. North Carolina State made their offer, as did Michigan State. The Spartans are an interesting team to watch in this race because they see a greater need for Frasor now than they did two months ago. It was mid-March when they were informed of the de-commitment of Eric Devendorf, also a 6-3 guard who can play both backcourt positions and is currently ranked the No. 4 shooting guard in this class. Tom Izzo made it a point to shadow Frasor in Houston and the next week came to visit Brother Rice with an assistant and a scholarship offer.
"Michigan State had a really good presentation and opened my eyes," Frasor said.
These schools join an already strong list of offerees that includes Stanford, Marquette, DePaul, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. Frasor took his first official visit last weekend to Marquette and has another scheduled to Stanford the weekend of May 21. Those two trips were planned before the Kingwood, and you might have expected other officials to pop up this spring soon thereafter.
"There just isn't time for any more officials this spring," Frasor explains. "I took the Marquette visit last weekend, and this weekend is Mother's Day - can't leave then. Next weekend we play at a tournament at UIC, and then I go to Stanford. The last weekend of May is the Bob Gibbons [Tournament of Champions] in North Carolina, but I will take an unofficial visit to see UNC the day after that is over. The players will be there and students will be around for summer school."
Brother Rice High School finishes classes May 27 and recruits are not allowed to take official visits when they are not in school. That precludes Frasor from taking any June visits, whereas other kids from other parts of the country have visits scheduled that month while they are still in classes. Jordan Wilkes from Los Angeles, for example, is taking his official to Stanford the weekend of June 4.
After a busy May, the basketball will keep rolling throughout the summer. Frasor will travel to Virginia for the NBPA Top 100 camp in Richmond (June 18-22) and then trek back East again a couple weeks later for the Reebok ABCD All-American camp in New Jersey (July 7-11). A week later he hits the Southeast with the Showtime National Championship with his AAU team in Atlanta (July 15-17). Then the Wolves will cross the country for the Reebok Big Time in Las Vegas (July 22-26), to be immediately followed by another bicoastal trip to Orlando for the AAU Nationals in Orlando (July 26-31).
Frasor really only played one big AAU event in April, and look how his recruitment blew up. With all this exposure during the summer evaluation period (July), his stock may rise higher still. The question on the collective mind of nervous Cardinalmaniacs™ is whether this elite point guard will still be conducting his recruitment that late in the game. Stanford fans unabashedly hope that Mike Montgomery's early entry in the Frasor sweepstakes last summer will pay dividends.
"Stanford is still up there high on my list," Frasor said of the Cardinal's chances. "They're the only official I'm taking the rest of this month."
A key event in Stanford's recruitment of Frasor came in late April when Montgomery made his visit to Brother Rice to speak with the prized point guard. It was the first ever in-person meeting between Frasor and a Cardinal coach, and it went quite well.
"I really liked him," the prospect professes. "He's a down-to-Earth guy and seems like a great coach. Yeah, a lot of coaches had similar things to say, but some were - how can I say this? Not exactly boring, but not really engaging. I really liked Coach Montgomery. He talked about player development at Stanford and said I'd really fit in perfectly with the other guys on the team."
The face-to-face talk also allowed the Stanford head man a chance to discuss a few details related to a Frasor future on The Farm, including the admissions process that is still playing out.
"He said if I'm worried about admissions, I shouldn't be. I should find out when I get there on my visit that I'm admitted - just need to send in a writing sample," the standout student-athlete reveals. "I had one 'C' my first semester in English. I had a teacher who was kind of difficult, and we really didn't get along. But we change teachers in all our classes at my school after the first semester, and I'm getting an 'A' in English now."
Playing time was also discussed, and Frasor holds that topic near to his heart, much like the rest of the top recruits in America.
"I just want to go to a place where I can compete my first year and then get more and more minutes. I don't have to start my first year at all. Three years is a lot of time in college basketball," he said. "At Stanford there will be two senior point guards my first year, and I could play at the off-guard as a freshman. Then I would have a great opportunity for the next three years. Having to switch positions wouldn't be a bad thing at all. It would be great to get acclimated to the offense at the off-guard."
In summation, Stanford still holds some advantages and appears to be doing things well thus far in this recruitment. When suitors like UNC and Michigan State enter the mix, you would think that the Cardinal's chances are necessarily diluted, but Frasor says that is not the case. He does say, though, that one school is at the top of his mind with everything that has happened to date.
"I would have to say just Marquette right now, only because I have been out there and that gives them an edge," he declares. "I feel real good about Marquette; they did a real good job. But my dad told me that I would love any place where I take an official visit, and that's why he has said he won't let me make a commitment with just one visit."
The trip out West in two weeks will of course be that second visit, which could allow for Frasor to make a commitment. Stanford fans are salivating at any prospect of locking up this elite point guard during or immediately after his May 21-23 trip. Is that a possibility?
"I really don't know," Frasor replies. "I could take officials in the fall to see some of these places I've never seen, but I also could wrap this up if I found the perfect place before then. It's a possibility... I have a friend who went out there over spring break and said it was unbelievable. I can't wait to get out there and see Stanford."
This story originally published on TheBootleg.com