Back in November of last year, both Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann were selected to the Preseason All-SEC team. In fact, they were both First Team selections.
Odds are that neither of them will be on the First Team when the teams are chosen at the conclusion of the year. Gaines, who is averaging 13.5 points per SEC game, may wind up on the Second Team.
Barring an epic meltdown, Georgia should have a representative from its backcourt on that First Team, though; and that person is J.J. Frazier.
Frazier is having a fantastic SEC season, and he is on the leaderboard in 7 out of the 13 categories that the conference tracks. Four of those statistical areas pertain to rebounding and blocked shots, which J.J. can hardly be faulted for since he is typically the smallest player on the court (yet he is second on the UGA team in rebounding, grabbing 4.9 a game on the year).
In conference games, Frazier is netting nearly 17 points a night, and he is making almost 45% of his three-point attempts. J.J. has a stellar assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.7. Oh yeah, and he’s leading everyone with 2.5 steals a contest in league games.
While Frazier’s perimeter shooting has been remarkable thus far, it’s certainly not his only weapon. Everyone remembers Frazier’s 37-point effort against Missy State last year, a game in which J.J. nailed all 7 of his three-point shots. The problem with that game, though, was that it let the cat out of the bag on Frazier, warning the rest of the league that he needed to be guarded closely beyond the arc. For the most part, teams obliged, keeping a defender close to J.J. at all times, which severely limited his open outside looks. The result: Frazier only scored in double-figures 5 times in the remaining 14 games.
The issue was that last season J.J.’s offense centered around three-pointers.
This year, however, that is not the case. Frazier has shown his ability to take the ball to the rim this season, and if defenders play him too tight on the perimeter, he just goes by them. Last year, only 39% of J.J.’s field goals were two-pointers. This season, that number has risen to 50%, and the year isn’t over yet. Offensively, Frazier is much more dynamic this season compared to last.
Simply put, Frazier is integral to UGA’s success. He and Yante Maten are the two guys that Coach Fox must have on the court and out of foul trouble if this team is going to make a late-season push for the NCAA tournament.
Georgia is just 3-5 this year in games in which Frazier scores 12 points or less, and they are 10-3 on the season when he goes over that number.