The Georgia men’s basketball team will open conference play on Tuesday night when they host the Arkansas Razorbacks at Stegeman Coliseum. The Bulldogs (9-3) finished non-conference play with a home victory against Norfolk State this past Saturday. In the game sophomore guard J.J. Frazier scored a career-high 20 points. Frazier’s impact on the court has been the impetus behind a strong start by the Bulldogs.
For the majority of this season Frazier has played as the sixth man averaging 9.2 points, 3.3 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game. Frazier’s speed and scoring ability has been a key factor for Georgia this season.
“He’s found a niche right now off the bench which is suiting him pretty well,” head coach Mark Fox said. “He’s a natural leader on the court and I think now as a sophomore you’re able to see more of that.”
Frazier’s 3-point and free throw shooting has been a bright spot for a Bulldogs team that struggles in both areas. He shoots 39 percent from behind the arc and 89 percent from the free throw line. Despite not leading the Bulldogs in any of the three major statistical categories , Frazier has been Georgia’s most efficient player.
According to College Basketball Reference, Frazier boasts an offensive rating, or points produced per 100 possessions, of 134. Not only does this rank him first on the team in the category, it also places him in a tie for 13th in all of Division I basketball.
Frazier has also increased his output in other areas to help the team posting a career high in rebounds (11) and assists (7) in a 65-47 win against Seton Hall on Dec. 21st. As Frazier’s scoring has increased he has continued to make his teammates better. Frazier assists on 24 percent of his team’s made field goals when he is on the court.
“He’s a very versatile player, he can do it all,” junior guard Kenny Gaines said. “If he [Frazier] sees we’re slacking in the defensive area then he’ll pick it up on defense [or] rebounding he went and got 11 boards the other day.”
Fifth-year senior Marcus Thornton credited Frazier’s “pitbull” mentality as the reason for his improvement this year. At 5-foot-10 Frazier will almost always be the smallest player on the court, but that has not stopped him from succeeding in crucial moments.
“He steps up in big time moments throughout the game when others on the team aren’t doing well,” junior guard Charles Mann said. “He’s a great spark plug.”
Without Frazier’s play Georgia easily could have lost two to three more games, which would have made it tough to make the NCAA Tournament. As tougher Southeastern Conference competition begins, Georgia will need Frazier to continue his solid production.
Each game is going to be tougher than the last,” Frazier said. “I’m confident in myself to get the job done.”