May 4, 2013

Frayer one to watch

Kevin McCarthy

photo of Oscar Frayer

12.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.0 blocks, 2.7 steals and 1.8 assists per game for a 6-foot-6 prep prospect would lead to a very solid degree of recruiting interest for most upperclassmen. But when those are the numbers of a freshman, the output of an initial high school season, bells and whistles, no, make that alarms, go off in the offices of numerous college coaches. Here's your introduction to Oscar Frayer.

The 6-foot-6 Moreau Catholic High and Oakland Soldiers player is so far from the typical “I was just out there hoping the ball never came to me” frosh that it's silly. Try being the sole frosh nominated to the All State list and a member of the top Soldiers squad.

Yet he has found out so far this spring that production and reputation means zip, nada, zilch to basketball opponents throughout the country. It's a what you can do now, not what you have done, environment.

Coached by Frank Knight, Moreau Catholic finished 18-10 overall, 10-4 in Mission Valley Athletic League, one that features always formidable Newark Memorial High and tough James Logan. Frayer earned First Team All-MVAL honors due to his output and some of those statistics placed high in NCS D-IV rankings:

But participating in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) is taking up residence in a very different universe.

“You're playing with a lot more elite players,” Frayer explained. “The intensity surprised me a whole lot.”

It's a bring your 'A' game or be humbled experience.

Here's Knight on his protégé “Oscar is a special talent. He has a huge motor, loves to defend. and practically makes it so you can't get any easy baskets on his side of the floor. Once his offensive skill set catches up with his defensive abilities he will be one of the top players in the country.”

As for early recruiting interest, Knight mentioned that he had received letters and calls from Cal, UCLA, Arizona, Creighton, Air Force and New Mexico about Frayer, adding “I'm sure there will be a lot more calls after he's done playing in the Nike EYBL.”

So what does Frayer consider as the current best assets?

“It has to be my jumping ability and my ability to put the ball in the basket” and he's looking foremost at improving his ballhandling.

Although his high school tenure is one of brevity thus far, Frayer recalls “beating James Logan at home this season was one of the best moments of my life.” It was a February 4 60-59 victory for the homecourt Mariners.

He sports a 2.7 grade point average and, as for recruiting, he's thinking differently than most.

“I want to go play on the East Coast because I like to explore new things.”

Moreau was a youth-dominated team in 2012-13, with up to five freshman starting. The squad has no official captains but Frayer has adopted a specific role, one carrying a certain responsibility.

“Before games, I talk with the guys to get a sense of their mindset and make sure we are ready. I love being in that position and take it seriously.”

Two snapshots are telling in Moreau Catholic's season. First, a January 9 69-42 loss to Newark Memorial was bookended by just a 64-62 defeat three weeks later. Plus, the Mariners took wins in nine out of their last eleven games. That's the arc of improvement coaches love to witness, especially with an underclassmen dominated team.

Frayer's takeway as he continues his club season and then moves into his sophomore year: “never settle for less.”

That doesn't bode well for opponents.