Healthy again, Frasor living a dream

Late-night session boosts confidence

Staff WriterMarch 20, 2009 

— Bored, awake and determined to remind himself that he could still compete, North Carolina point guard Bobby Frasor started YouTubing his name at 2 a.m. Thursday.

Looking at the old, healthy highlights, "I told myself, 'Bobby, you can still play this game,' " Frasor said.

And roughly 15 hours later, he had proven it.

The senior recorded seven points, three assists and one turnover during the Tar Heels' 101-58 blowout of Radford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The numbers weren't stunning, but they were steady -- which was exactly what the Tar Heels needed with starting point guard Ty Lawson again sidelined by a lingering toe injury.

"I think I was the most prepared today than I have been all season, and I think it showed,'' said Frasor, whose Tar Heels will play Louisiana State in the second round Saturday.

Indeed, Frasor was making his third straight start in place of Lawson, the ACC Player of the Year who has been gimpy since jamming his right big toe this month. The NCAA start was Frasor's first since his freshman season, when he started all 31 games as the point guard.

In between, it was a painful journey. Foot problems slowed him his sophomore season, then a torn anterior cruciate ligament sidelined him just 13 games into his junior season, leaving him to shoot circus 3-point attempts from the bench during NCAA Tournament practices while his teammates played their way to the Final Four.

"I've never had a player that's handled as much adversity with injury as Bobby Frasor has, as well as he has," coach Roy Williams said. "I've never had anybody that's handled that many injuries. But he's handled it with such grace and care about his teammates to do everything he can do get back and help them."

The Tar Heels aren't as speedy without lightning-quick Lawson leading the way, although UNC's sheer athleticism resulted in 25 fast-break points against the Highlanders. But looking at those old YouTube videos from his sophomore season, when he was coming off screens to lob alley-oop dunks to Brandan Wright, reminded Frasor that he didn't have to be as fleet as Lawson. He provided his own version of pushing the pace with quick passes down the court.

Said teammate Tyler Hansbrough: "His confidence is coming back up. He's had some unfortunate times, but he's a player; he's always been a player. He stepped up for us when we needed him to."

Lawson said after the game that he hopes to be ready to play again Saturday. Williams said he doesn't know if that will actually be the case.

Either way, Frasor said he will be ready -- and that he hopes a too-long nap won't have him awake in the wee hours of the morning, watching YouTube videos, again.

"It's great to be a part of a team where it's a complete 180 from last year, when I wasn't even playing, just because of circumstances," he said. "To be able to contribute, to help your team out, to make plays in the NCAA Tournament is something you dream of as a kid."

robbi.pickeral@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8944

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