July 13, 2013

Watch for Fraser

Kevin McCarthy

In July, the national writers don't get to the gyms where unheralded talents can be found because more prose, the most very latest, must be offered about those already determined as tops in their recruiting class. But prospects for all college hoops levels can still be witnessed at the further-out facilities. Take Kenny Fraser for example.

photo of Kenny Fraser

At 6-foot-6 and now 185 pounds, the Turlock High and Stanco Stampede senior-to-be is on that cusp between DI and DII. He averaged 10.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in 2012-13 -- including highs of 29 plus eight rebounds versus Franklin and 26 and 13 against Atwater last February -- as the Bulldogs finished an overall 17-11, 7-3 in the Central California League. In fact, Fraser's last quintet of matchups had him scoring in double figures while shooting 5-8, 5-10, 8-11, 7-9 and 8-13 respectively.

Now in his last summer go-around, recruiters want to see if he has indeed crossed the proverbial threshold.

Here's Stanco Stampede Coach Undrae Walker on Fraser's junior year finish: “Kenny was a beast in his last five games. That's what we want -- for him to be more consistent and aggressive the entire game.”

Fraser also sports a 3.67 grade point average and nailed a 1750 SAT score.

So why basketball for the young man?

Although there was an early diversion with baseball, it was roundball love from almost the get-go.

As Fraser's father, a member of the million mile club (adding up the travel to tournaments, games and practices) remembers, “even before he walked he had a basketball in his hand.”

Now, Fraser's self assessment of his best basketball skills is, “my mid-range jumper and my defense down low.” He is also noted for his timing on shotblocking.

As he recalled, “I was a guard as a freshman and learned to handle the ball, Now that I'm a lot bigger, I play more post.”

In fact, he relishes his younger high school days because “I got to play with older guys and that was helpful in learning the game.”

Regarding recruiting, Walker sees Fraser approaching the mid DII level. “Kenny has Cal State University Monterey Bay, Simon Fraser, Biola, Cal State University Stanislaus, UC San Diego, Alaska Anchorage and University of Colorado Colorado Springs all interested.”

For this coming November, Fraser offered “our team looks really strong and we should compete for the league title.” Turlock Coach Doug Cornfoot also sees bright days ahead as “we have four starters returning and our JV team won league.” Cornfoot knows his hoops, being a Cal State University Stanislaus graduate who was a member of the Warriors team that went to the DIII Final Four.

His take on Fraser, “The biggest difference from his younger days is confidence. He started out as a guard/small forward but he's probably going to reach 6-foot-7 and now he's the one who needs to take the shot when we need it.”

So this month, in Las Vegas and elsewhere, let's see what transpires.