Trent Frazier enters his fourth and final year with quite a career in the orange and blue. The 6-foot-2 guard has played in 95 games over the past three years. Underwood and staff will lean on him to be a leader within this talented roster. Frazier has been a key fixture in the Illinois lineup, earning himself a starting role midway through his freshman season. The Wellington, Fla., native has tallied nearly 200 triples on .357 shooting percentage from behind the arc. He also is the 50th Illini in program history to cross the 1,000-point mark, totaling 1,119 career points after last season. Originally recruited by John Groce, Frazier has proved to be a loyal Illini with just him and Da’Monte Williams remaining from the final Groce year. His tenure has included both the good (21-10 last year, National Title aspirations this year) and the bad (12-21 in 2018-19).
WHAT HE DID LAST YEAR
Frazier has seen his role change through each of his first three years. Last season, Frazier wasn’t the No. 1 option, or really the No. 2 option for that matter. With that, we saw a much better Trent Frazier on defense. He has many convinced that he was one of the best on-ball defenders in the Big Ten. On the offensive side of the ball, Frazier struggled to shoot it. He ended the year with a .327 field gold percentage, his worst in his Illini career. But, he also received high praise for how well he took care of the ball. His best game last season came at Purdue. Frazier went 5-of-7 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line, an impressive performance at one of the toughest venues in the Big Ten.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Frazier will enter the 2020-21 season with likely a similar role to what he did last year. Frazier will be a starter for the fourth straight season. The defense from last year will need to carry over for the Illini to live up to their expectations, maybe even an All-Big Ten Defensive Team selection. Frazier has been vocal about his disappointment in being snubbed from the honor last year.
Underwood will hope to see Frazier’s shooting percentages rise in his senior year. This would stretch the floor immensely for other playmakers like Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn. Frazier may not be the No. 1 scoring option on the roster, but he could be just as important.
A NEW ROLE
There’s also the potential behind him. Illinois picked up two really young, talented guards this offseason in Andre Curbelo and Adam Miller. It’ll be the job of older experienced players, like Frazier, to help in the development of the young stars. Curbelo may find himself in similar roles as Frazier in years to come. We’ve already heard talk of him and Dosunmu getting on these younger guys in practice. Hopefully, he takes Curbelo under his wing (if he hasn’t already) and shows him the ropes of Big Ten basketball. In the last three seasons, Frazier may have felt like the past, present and future guard for the Illini. But, for his last chapter he could make another big impact on the program by helping Curbelo to ‘carry the torch’ for years to come.