(Orono, Maine) – For three years, University of Maine center Alasdair Fraser has left the earth quaking, backboards shaking and a trail of battered opponents, bruised egos, bent rims and busted basket supports in his wake.
On Tuesday, Fraser once again shook the earth at the University of Maine, but in a very different fashion.
In a story first broken by One-Bid Wonders, the junior center and OBW All-Conference First Team selection officially requesting his release from the university, bringing to an end his Black Bear career before his senior year. Fraser will either sign an overseas contract and begin his professional career, or transfer to another Division I institution to use up his final year of eligibility.
And with that, the dark days in Orono have turned pitch-black; the hurricane already raging has now grown into the storm of the century.
Listed at 6’7” 230 (and weighing in closer to 260) pounds of muscle, Fraser has stood tall for the Black Bears as a Scottish Wall on defense and immovable object on offense. As a junior Fraser averaged 13.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, ranking eighth, fourth and second in the conference, respectively. Fraser also finished fifth in scoring in America East Conference games at 14.3 points per contest.
Sheer numbers do not do Fraser justice or accurately encompass his impact: Arguably the league’s most dynamic center, Fraser displayed a brilliant and diverse arsenal of low-post moves as well as a silky-smooth jumper out to the NBA 3-point line. He also ranked as one of the most efficient players in the league using NBA-style advanced metrics, despite drawing nightly double – and often triple – teams every trip down the court while playing in a chaotic and dysfunction system in which he was criminally underused and overlooked.
He was also the rarest of rare-breeds: a Black Bear player who continued to grow, develop and improve every year in Orono. Fraser made the leap from a bruising bulldozer and America East strongman as a freshman, to a cerebral big-man with a refined low post game and automatic mid-range jumper as a sophomore, before making another stride as a junior, adding a 3-point shot and deft passing touch.
Fraser showcased the depth of his talent and abilities in a January 22nd upset over Vermont, just missing a triple-double; pouring in 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, ripping down 10 rebounds and dishing out eight assists while swatting a pair of shots.
Maine was already dealing with the crippling blow of losing its top scorer, most athletic player, and best raw talent in high-flying wing Justin Edwards, who announced his decision to transfer out of the university a month ago. Edwards led league in scoring at 16.7 points per game despite only scratching the surface of his raw abilities.
While Edwards’ departure sent the Black Bears to the mat for an eight-count, it is Fraser’s that might KO the program for the upcoming season – and beyond. (more…)