Trent Frazier erupts for 27 points in an overtime loss vs Iowa.
The Illinois basketball team had a really good class of 2017 come in that consisted of three guards and two big men.
Whenever you bring in new players, no matter how highly they are ranked, you never know what exactly you are getting. Illinois has had some top 100 talent come into the program who were busts. There have also been a few players not in the top 100 who did some great things for the Illini. It is hard to tell what exactly you are getting.
One of the players who came into the Illinois program from the class of 2017 was Trent Frazier. He was rated as a four-star recruit who cracked the top 100 – No. 95 – in the Rivals rankings and missed the top 100 – No. 108 – in the 247Sports rankings. But, when you watched this kid on film, you could tell he had something special. He was electric on the court with a level of bravery of Ned Stark.
Frazier had accolades coming into Illinois as well. He was awarded the Class 9A Player of the Year honor. Do you know what this means? There are only nine classes in the state of Florida, so he was the best player in the best class in the fourth most populated state in the country. This begs the question; how the heck was he just inside or just outside the top 100 in the class of 2017? This kid was a superstar coming out of high school.
Since joining the Illini, Frazier has done some great things and he has already added to his basketball accolades. This past week, Frazier was awarded the Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor. He is the first Illini to win the award this season and it was well deserved.
Frazier helped Illinois to a big win over the Missouri Tigers in the annual Braggin’ Rights game. He ended up dropping 22 points with three steals in the 70-64 victory. And if I was a betting man – which I am – I would say this isn’t the last you have heard from Frazier this season as far as awards are concerned.
It is clear, Brad Underwood had a new team and he wasn’t sure which players to play for extended minutes. He has started to get a better grip on that situation, though.
In the first eight games of Frazier’s career, he only averaged 17.6 minutes per game. Underwood has increased Frazier’s minutes over the last six games to 25.6 MPG. That is a big reason why his points per game have increased as well. He was only averaging 5.5 PPG in those first eight contests but in the last six, he has got that number up to 14.1 PPG.
With the increased time on the floor, Frazier’s efficiency seems to have increased as well. In the first eight games, he was only shooting 37.5-percent from the field. That number has increased to 39.4-percent over the last six games.
Frazier’s three-point shooting has increased tremendously as well. He was only shooting 16-percent from long range in the first eight games. Let me be Mr. Obvious here and say, that is really bad. But, he has done a great job keeping his confidence and improving. Over the last six games, he is shooting 33-percent from deep. That is a great improvement.
Overall, it is no wonder Frazier won the Big Ten Freshman of the Week. He is an extremely talented player, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up on an All-Big Ten 1st, 2nd or 3rd team this season.