Since joining the Illini back in 2017, Trent Frazier has seen his role change each season. This year, the junior guard moved away from being a main scoring option. His previous two seasons, Frazier was a top-2 scorer on the roster. As a freshman, Frazier was a main source of offense and a spark plug. As a sophomore, Frazier and Dosunmu provided a nice one-two punch of scoring but still failed to do much damage in the Big Ten. This year, however, Frazier became one of, if not the best, perimeter defenders on the roster. This translated into a 21-10 (13-7) record, and on top of his defense, he took exceptional care of the ball during his junior campaign.
BY THE NUMBERS
Frazier has been one of the most unselfish Illini basketball players in recent memory. This kid bleeds orange and blue and you can see that by his effort he puts on the floor night in and night out. Everyone knew what he could do offensively, the Gonzaga game in Maui last year was a prime example of that. But to go from averaging 12.5 points per game as a freshman and 13.7 as a sophomore to dipping below 10 on 33% shooting is tough. His impact on the 2019-20 Illini goes far beyond the numbers. He hit timely shots, played outstanding defense, passed the ball, and rarely turned it over. He set aside his pride and realized how much he could contribute while also letting Ayo Dosunmu blossom to a top guard in the conference and also the country. His grit was shown every game. Charges taken, steals, diving on loose balls, Frazier did it all.
The best offensive game that comes to mind for Trent this season had to be at Purdue. With the Illini starting to surge in conference play, they had a very tough matchup on the road at Mackey Arena. Frazier responded with red-hot shooting going 5-of-7 from three and 6-of-6 from the free throw line, as Illinois won the contest 79-62. Winning at Purdue is always a tough task and with Frazier’s contributions, the Illini ran the Boilermakers off the floor.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Next season Frazier will be in a position to mentor two fantastic recruits in Andre Curbelo and Adam Miller. Depending on if Dosunmu returns will greatly impact what role he has on the team. If Ayo leaves, expect Frazier to have a “bounce-back” offensive year. I still believe he’s by far the best shooter on the team, and the Illini will need him to find that shooting stroke again with Alan Griffin’s offseason departure. If Ayo does return, expect a similar scoring output but much better percentages from the field. Either way, this kid is a winner and he will play winning basketball if his shot is falling or not.