New H.S. Basketball Coach Frazier Seeks New Hope At The Rock
Chris Frazier knows and loves the game of basketball. He also loves to teach, as he currently does at MS 53. Both are his passions and when the opportunity came along to take over the varsity basketball job at Far Rockaway High School in early January, Frazier jumped at the chance.
What he knew in taking over the job halfway though the season, after replacing previous head coach Anthony Miele, is that he didn't have time to adjust to his surroundings. The December 2005 transit strike canceled three games, and when the Seahorses reconvened, Frazier only had one practice to get to know his players.
It wasn't enough time to learn a new system and adjust to playing a hectic makeup schedule.
The Seahorses lost the last eight games of the regular season and finished 3-11 in the Queens A III Division. Now Frazier has the fulltime job and he's ready to assume the mantle as head coach as the PSAL season began last Wednesday at August Martin.
"Well I feel a lot better now. It was tough last year but the players still gave their best last year," Frazier, who was in a car accident on November 15, 1987 that left him currently paralyzed and in a wheelchair, said.
The effort was tremendous. This year, we're excited to start out fresh," Frazier said.
With at least weeks of practice time, the Seahorses will begin the season but in a different league. The formation of an "AA" league grouped together the high profile teams to a super division. Far Rockaway was placed in the newly created Queens "A" West Division, which pits them against natural rivals August Martin and John Adams but will not face Beach Channel, who moved to the Queens "AA" Division.
The loss of the season peninsula rivalry is a blow for Frazier, who hopes that talks for a non league game against Beach Channel in late December will come to fruition. Though he disagrees with the realignment to an extent on some issues, the "A" league will still provide plenty of competition and excitement according to Frazier.
For now, he has to deal with his own team and he knows the team will be a bit inexperienced on the floor.
He doesn't have a go to scorer as last year's top point scorer Jeremy Pruitt graduated. David Lawson is the only senior on the roster who returns and the athletic Ednut Egberongbe suffered a broken wrist while playing his final football game against Jamaica in early November. Davion Harvey impressed in a few games at point guard but he transferred to a school in Florida in the summer.
Frazier has been impressed with the improvement of Stafford Nichols, a 6 foot 5 center who played in the junior varsity last season. Expected to start at center, the rebounding and aggression has surprised and excited the head coach. Dashawn Williamson and Reginald Atkins will see time as well.
"We have to work as a team. "We're not looking at one person to be the scorer for this team. It'll give us a chance to work together and I know this team will be tough," Frazier said.
The focus will be to concentrate on playing team defense and be stifling enough against opponents to cause turnovers and run the fast break. Quincy Powers Jr. and Davonne Gittens are fighting for time at the point guard position and whoever plays well will help to run the motion offense Frazier has installed.
He doesn't want to use the rebuilding word but it could best describe what might occur this season. Frazier says he is at Far Rockaway for as long as it takes to get the school back to its winning ways.
"When I played at Bishop Loughlin, Xaverian was that opponent who knew when they faced us, it would be a dogfight. I want to be that type of team that when an opponent sees us on our schedule, they know it's going to be in a dogfight for 32 minutes."