J.J. Frazier – UGA’s Little Big Man

J.J. Frazier’s Last 10 Regular Season Games, In Perspective

It comes as a wonderful surprise when a UGA basketball player does something few have done before.  UGA’s J.J. Frazier has had a fantastic season – an historic season really.  Let’s compare JJ’s season, or at least a segment of it, to UGA greats of the past.

Vern Fleming in 1982-83 took the helm from Dominique Wilkins and led the team to the NCAA Final Four.  His smooth floor game, unselfish play and tenacious defense was fun to watch, even the season after Dominique ruled the floor with his high-flying skills.  A 6’5” point guard, Fleming was spectacular in the ’82-’83 season, scoring 16.9 ppg on 53% shooting.  Although he scored more as a senior, this historic season makes Fleming worthy of note.  His play in the NCAA tournament led the “After-Niques” into rarified air for UGA hoops.  No UGA team since has made the Final Four, and Vern set the bar for all subsequent UGA guards, capturing a spot on the 1984 Olympic team and playing 12 years in the NBA.

It wasn’t too much longer before another special guard came along.  At only 6’1”, Litterial Green came to Athens from Mississippi known as a scorer.  He did not disappoint.  Litterial still holds the record at UGA for points scored in a career (2,111), while being third in career assists (466).  In his sophomore season, Green led the Hoop Dawgs to their only regular season SEC championship.  Although Litterial,  like Vern, would score more points per game in his next two seasons, the ’89-’90 season will always be remembered for its historic significance, and Green did more than his part to achieve that result.

In the Mark Fox era, guards Dustin Ware, Travis Leslie, Gerald Robinson, Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines had fine careers, but two guards, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and J.J. Frazier have done things in stretches no other modern-day UGA guard has done.  While there is still more J.J. can accomplish, barring a miracle NCAA tourney invitation, none of Fox’s guards will have led their teams to an NCAA tournament victory.  

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the highest-ranked recruit of Coach Fox’s tenure, and KCP lived up to his billing.  A lock-down defender, KCP proved he was a scorer and great all-around player, with a two year stat line of:

 

SUMMARY
Career Games PTS TRB Assists FG% FG3% FT%
KCP 64 15.8 6.1 1.5 41.5 33.9 75.2

 

KCP had an incredible eight-game stretch his sophomore year.  Starting on January 19, 2013, vs LSU and ending February 12, 2013, vs Alabama, Caldwell-Pope was virtually unstoppable, with an incredibly productive run that likely jumped his draft status into the top 10.  While many players may go on a 3-4 game stretch of extremely high productivity, it is rare to see someone do this for an entire month, and there may never be another Dawg to match these numbers:

 

2pt % 3pt % FT % RB/G Assists/G Steals/G TO/G PPG
KCP 8 Game Stretch 68.3% 45.1% 90.9% 6.5 1.6 1.9 2.5 19.4

 

As a bit of perspective, the 50 – 40 – 90 (50% from the field, 40% from 3 and 90% from the foul line) stat line is considered the definition of great shooters.  In fact, only 7 NBA players have achieved this number in a full-season.  So, while this is only an 8-game stretch, KCP’s shooting percentages were out of this world.  For Dawg hoop fans, it was electric to watch.

Each prior example leads to what J.J .Frazier did over his last 10 regular season games.  Using 10 games vs KCP’s 8 seems a bit off, but since Frazier kept up his big numbers over his last two games, this column became a slightly unbalanced comparison.  That should not take away from what many fans have seen, watching a favorite player take a team and put it on his back, as J.J. has done for 10 straight games.  And while UGA has not won all these games, they very well may have lost them all if not for the diminutive fan favorite.  Take a look at J.J.’s numbers:

2pt % 3pt % FT % RB/G Assists/G Steals/G TO/G PPG
JJ Last 10 Games 48.3% 42.0% 85.7% 4.2 4.2 2.0 2.3 25.3

 

Frazier stepped it up incredibly over his last 10 games, four of which were without fellow star player Yante Maten.  Take a look at JJ’s first 21 game numbers:

2pt % 3pt % FT % RB/G Assists/G Steals/G TO/G PPG
First 21 Games: 47.7% 27.3% 88.9% 3.2 4.2 2.0 2.4 15.5

 

The most obvious improvement from his first 21 games came in J.J.’s 3pt shooting.  A deeper look shows Frazier also stepped up his rebounds and lowered his turnovers, while increasing his scoring by nearly 10ppg.  Truly remarkable.

Sadly,  J.J. Frazier could not lead UGA to an SEC title, but further tourney play still remains.  He is a joy to watch, but it would be sad to watch his season and career end without another shot at the NCAA tournament.  J.J. Frazier will be missed greatly in coming years.

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