In some countries like Luxemburg or Iceland, basketball road trips are a piece of cake and can be as short a trip as it is taking a taxi from a certain five star hotel on the park in Boston to the TD Garden, but then again in other countries like Germany, road trips can be a longer affair as Chris Frazier has found out. In two of the last three seasons, the German/American who was born in Heidelberg and played 107 games for University of Dubuque (NCAA3) played for two clubs Rostock Seawolves and wiha Panthers Schwenningen where long tedious road trips are as usual as it is seeing these absurb high scoring games in the NBA. Especially when a team is situated in the north like Rostock or Schwenningen in the deep south, you have to travel some serious distances and you spend a lot of time on the bus. In Rostock, he had to endure a trip to Kirchheim that was 871 kilometers and on average with a car is 7 hours and 36 minutes and from Schwenningen to Bremerhaven, it was a distance of 798 kilometers and would take 7 hours and 26 minutes. The longest of last season was going from Schwenningen back to Rostock which is a 937 kilometer trek and takes 8 hours and 45 minutes, but that wasn´t the cause of the end of their season, but the trip to Bremerhaven. During the playoffs, the wiha Panthers played in Bremerhaven losing 83-79 where he had one of his best games of the season netting 18 points. It was a long bus ride home and something and the time spent together for a long time in a small amount of space didn´t help as when they arrived home, they soon after heard that 8 persons had been tested positive for COVID. An already tough season was crowned with a season ending COVID case. You never remember long road trips, but the last one to Bremerhaven is one that will always stick in the heads of the wiha Panthers players. That feeling that COVID could end a season was always in his mind. “ I knew it could happen because there are plenty of teams that had to go into quarantine before us, but I am surprised that covid almost hit our whole team and staff. It´s crazy how fast it can spread. I was pretty disappointed. Me and the guys wanted to end the season off with a win, but health comes first. I was just surprised on how quickly the virus spread between us”, stressed Chris Frazier.
It was a crazy season in the Pro A as there was so much drama and things happening with quarantine and injuries that seriously hampered clubs, some more than others, but still everyone was affected. It just really hurt the wiha Panthers that they were affected drastically at the end of the season where it counted most. “We haven’t been able to live normal for some time now so it wasn’t that big of an adjustment. We had very strict rules during the season to help prevent getting sick. It worked all the way until the end of the playoffs so it sort of worked”, stated Chris Frazier. They had lost 3 of 4 playoff games and the long and unpredictable season took a toll on them as well. “I think it was a physical and mental thing. Some of us were just drained of the season which is normal. With fans comes the extra energy so I would say it was a little bit of both”, stressed Chris Frazier. Despite COVID not going away and hanging around, the league and club wiha Panthers were able to get through the season as well as they could despite all the problems. “I think the league did a good Job. All the teams later realized that we had to be extra careful this season. We played a solid season, but there were many games that we gave away due to the lack of concentration, but I am proud of the guys, we had to play with no fans, no extra motivation. All in all we did a solid job”, commented Chris Frazier. A comment that many players have said during the last year is “I was so blessed to have been able to play the game I love and it wasn´t any different with Chris Frazier. “We got to play the game we love while a lot of people can´t even open their businesses. It hurts to see so many people struggle without knowing exactly when it will end! So that is my takeaway from this season”, added Chris Frazier who´s number one point guard of all-time is Chris Paul.
Frazier who sees current Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum becoming a great NBA player and doesn´t see current Golden State Warrior Draymond Green being the best defender of all-time, but definitely a guy who impacted the game at a different level had great teammates this season. He also had the chance to play with two prolific scorers that were genuine impact and go to players with Shaun Willet and Courtney Stockard. Willet left during the season and helped Heidelberg win the Pro A title while Stockard came in and was a big support in the team being successful. The move definitely benefited both teams Heidelberg and Schwenningen. “I wouldn’t say the move it was wrong or correct. It was a move that coach thought was right and he brought in Courtney. Both players were our best players, Courtney just lead us better. Coach has a crazy way of knowing how players could fit together so at the end of the day it was the right move to make. Playing with Courtney was a good experience. He can score in many ways and also defend of the other side of the floor. So if he were to make this next step into the BBL I would definitely root for him”, warned Chris Frazier. This upcoming season the ex Artland Dragons who resigned with the wiha Panthers will have a new point guard with ex Buffalo(NCAA) great Lamonte Bearden, but his memories of ex North Carolina guard Nate Britt will never wane. “Nate is probably the best point guard I’ve played with. He can do a little bit of everything, wherever you need him he can fill that void. I didn’t ask for too many North Carolina stories because I’m sure he is tired of telling them over and over again”, said Chris Frazier. He also saw German Jonas Nidermanner make new steps in his basketball development and was very smitten by his potential. “Jonas is a crazy talent. He still has so much potential to get better and grow and a basketball player. It´s crazy”, warned Chris Frazier.
The ex Otto Baskets Magdeburg guard who has his doubts that a Russell Westbrook could lead a European team to success, but still believe he would be able to get his points played a very solid and if not best statistical Pro A season in his career averaging 8,4ppg, 1,3rpg, 1,1apg and shot 45% from outside. But as usual, he wasn´t as content with his season. It is those players that are never fully content that are the ones that continue to get better. “I’m okay with this season. I can definitely do more because I had a good rhythm in the playoffs and I proved that I can play and contribute at this level. I am my biggest critic so next season will have to be better”, warned Chris Frazier. In the past he has played in the BBL with Crailsheim, but never got a real chance to show his talent and it wasn´t any different in Rostock. So in 2019-2020 he decided to take a step back and play in the Pro B with Iserlohn and it paid off as he averaged 14.7ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 45.1%, FT: 92.1%. It would have been interesting to see how his basketball journey had gone the last two seasons had he not landed in Iserlohn. “To be honest I still believe that I didn’t have to take that step back if only I got my chance while I was in Rostock, but it is what it is, I do not regret going back down to Iserlohn because then I probably wouldn’t have gotten another Pro A chance”, stressed Chris Frazier who isn´t that typical spot up shooter and has a good mid range shooter and plays defense aggressively. He scored in double figures in 10 games including two 18 point games against Bremerhaven and PS Karlsruhe.
The German/American who´s toughest player to defend last season was Kyle Lefroy and who feels that classic movies like Coming To America should be left alone is seeking to take on a bigger role in 2021 with the wiha Panthers. In Iserlohn he handled the ball more, while in Schwenningen his role was different, but getting less shots wasn´t an adjustment for him as his efficiency grew under head coach Alen Velcic. “I am a team first type of player and I always try to fit in where I´m needed the most. Of course I got less shots in the Pro A which lead me to have to be more efficient with my shots. It all worked out in the end though. I had less of a ball handling roll this season so I kind of had to go back into that 3 and D guy. I knew I would get a limited amount of shots so I had to make them count”, stressed Chris Frazier. It will be interesting to see how the 2021-2022 Panthers roster will look like and exactly what kind of a role Chris Frazier will take on. He is known as having a lethal three pointer, but this season he will unveil an old strength of his. “I will be working on my ball handling and my floater. I don’t get easy layups in the Pro A so I have to bring my floater back to life”, warned Chris Frazier. The road trips won´t be any different this upcoming season and the one to Bremerhaven will always give him that memory to the one last season. If he does catch some sleep on the bus, then at least his floater being successful could give him sweet dreams and distract him from any unwanted thoughts from his past COVID experience to Bremerhaven.