Some are calling them one of the best backcourts in the country. Certainly, they’re among the most experienced. But this is the first year Penn State’s Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill are playing together.
It’s also their first year as full-time roommates.
“We care about certain things like the same music,” said Frazier, the all-Big Ten point guard. “Having so much in common makes it so much easier.
“It’s mostly R&B and hip-hop, but I try to throw a little country on him from time to time.”
Newbill is a redshirt junior who sat out the 2011-12 season upon transferring from Southern Mississippi. Frazier is a senior who missed almost all of last season because of an Achilles injury. Together, they average 37.4 points (best in the nation among guard duos), 10.0 assists, 10.0 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game.
Together, they’ve grown as friends after being hotel roommates on the road last season. Together, they’re a feared backcourt combination for upcoming Big Ten opponents.
“They’re doing a pretty good job, don’t you think?” Penn State coach Pat Chambers said last week. “Tim… looks for D.J., which is good. I think they have a good understanding of where each other’s going to be on the floor and how to help each other on the defensive end.
“I think because of them rooming together last year, because they’re roommates now on campus and they’re spending a lot of time together, I think you’re seeing that on the floor. I think you’re seeing two guys who just want to win basketball games. They don’t care who the leading scorer is, as long as we compete at a high level and give ourselves a chance to win. They’re a cohesive duo.”
Last season, Newbill – a Philadelphia native – was somewhat miscast as a point guard after Fraizer was injured during the fourth game of the season.
This season, Frazier has been Penn State’s leading scorer five times, Newbill three and they tied for the designation once. In two of the three occasions in which another member of the team was the top scorer, Newbill had more points (they tied the other time).
Although they combine for nine seasons of experience being on major college basketball rosters, Newbill and Frazier continue to learn tendencies about each other as the season progresses.
“You learn something new every game,” Frazier said. “A move he made (against Duquesne on Dec. 11), I was like, ‘Damn, I didn’t even know he had that in his repertoire!’ You learn something new every time, and I think we will just keep gelling together throughout the season.”
Penn State will need them to if it hopes to make a postseason tournament.