Cal pulled the trigger on a shooting guard that Cuonzo Martin and Yanni Hufnagel have been eyeing…
SCOUTING REPORT: The Walking Double-Double
When Hayward (Calif.) Moreau Catholic head coach Frank Knight recalls the first time we spoke about his young Mariners, back in June of 2013, when he brought them to California’s two-day team camp, he gives a low, long, knowing chortle.
Back then, he said that his team was young – maybe too young – without a single upperclassman to depend on.
“We can be good,” he hedged. “We’ll see.”
He was so cautiously optimistic that he was almost pessimistic.
“The coach in me, as a coach, you’re always going to be cautiously optimistic,” he says. “This year, we have everybody back, and I’m still cautious about what we’re going to be able to do.”
In 2014, Moreau went 27-7, defeating Folsom (32-3), Richmond (Calif.) Salesian (24-15) twice and Vallejo (Calif.) St. Patrick-St. Vincent (26-9). For the first time since 1982, not only did the Mariners win a playoff game, but they advanced to the state finals on the backs of two of the youngest players on the roster – 2017 three-star point guard Damari Milstead and the Golden Bears’ most recent commit, 2016 four-star Oscar Frayer.
“I knew we had the talent; we have the talent, the pieces and the guys, but it takes a lot to be successful,” Knight says. “You can’t have any injuries, and you’ve got to win some games, you’ve got to wish for some luck, you’ve got to have some other people lose. Everything has to align, and last year, everything just aligned for us.”
One of the stars that aligned for Knight was Frayer, who is ranked as the No. 45 overall prospect in the 2016 class, and the No. 11 small forward. Knight knew that Frayer had potential years before he even got his hands on him.
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“When he first came into my program, I knew he was going to be a talent for me,” Knight says. “I’d known him since the sixth grade, and I knew he was a special talent then, but you never know how a kid that age is going to blossom and stuff. When he got to Moreau his first year and played well, I knew it was possible.”
In is first season, Frayer was second on the team to fellow freshman Armond Simmons, with 12.9 points per game. He shot 27% from three and 46% from the field, pulled down a team-leading 7.9 rebounds per game and averaged 2.7 steals as Moreau went 18-10.
This past season, Frayer averaged 14.1 points per game (second to Milstead), with 10.1 boards per game, 2.0 assists, 2.3 steals and 3.7 blocks. Knight and his staff have a name for Frayer: The Walking Double-Double.
“When he comes to Cal, he’ll get 10 points and 10 rebounds,” Knight says. “He’s just going to rebound because he’s athletic, so he’s going to get rebounds, and because he defends on all those rebounds, he’s going to get put-backs and he’s going to get free throws because he’s going to get fouled. He’s going to put in 10 and 10, period.”
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At just over 6-foot-6, between 160 and 170 pounds, Frayer looks a bit thin, but he has tremendous length and toughness.
“He’s very thin, but he’s strong,” says Knight. “When we lift, he’s strong. He can lift weights, and his body’s like that of a Kevin Durant, who doesn’t look like he’s very big, but he’s pretty strong with the ball.
“He brings a dynamic that […] we don’t have a true center, but when Oscar’s back there, he can protect the rim. That really, really helps you, when you’ve got a guy who can get a big-man rebound and block a shot and get up and score when you need him to score.”
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Knight doesn’t hedge at all when talking about what Frayer brings to the table.
“He has NBA athleticism right now,” Knight says. “He’s probably the best athlete that I’ve ever coached. He can touch way above the top of the square on the backboard. With that athleticism, he can play defense, he can block shots, he can rebound, tips balls – he’s very, very athletic.”
Beyond that, Frayer is a winner. Yes, his highlight reels are full of dunks and power moves, but it’s his personality and drive that makes him a top-50 player.
“He just brings that athleticism and the desire and that just push to push the team. He’s always telling people, ‘We’ve got to keep going, we can do better than this.’ He’s one of those kinds of kids. He’s going to bring that to the program,” says Knight. “Like I told Cuonzo Martin [Tuesday] morning, ‘Put Oscar around the guy who’s a 30-point-a-game, a 25-points-a-game kid, and he’s Scottie Pippin.’ He was like, ‘No pressure.’ He’ll get 15 or 16 points, he’s going to get 10 rebounds, he’s going to block three or four shots and have five or six assists. He’s one of those guys. He’s the glue guy that every championship team needs.”
That’s exactly what Frayer thinks he can bring to Berkeley.
“A winning attitude: I feel like, at the end of the day, everything is about winning basketball games,” Frayer says. “Once we win, everything gets good. I feel I can bring a lot of things to the table.”