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Retiring #22, out of Joanna

Todd Frazier's jersey hangs in the rafters with greats of Newberry College Basketball


If they can’t be called The Indians anymore, can Todd Frazier still be called The Chief?

OK, just for the sake of argument, say he can’t. Now that Newberry College goes by the name Wolves, let’s agree that Todd Frazier is one of men’s basketball’s Leaders of the Pack.

Frazier’s #22 jersey took its rightful place Saturday among the jersey retirement numbers of Newberry greats, young men who led their teams to SAC Championships and, in some cases, the National Championship Tournament in Kansas City – the NAIA’s equivalent of that other tournament held in March. Frazier emerged from Clinton High School (two-time all-conference) and the tight-knit mill villages of the Joanna community to gain his degree in 1989 from the Lutheran college 20 miles down the road and had a stellar collegiate career. Some of his most notable games were against very good Presbyterian College teams, back when that rivalry meant something.

He was aggressive, but rarely fouled out. He did not want you coming across HIS lane without a well-timed, and pretty much hidden from the refs, bump to the kidneys, even as he was making YOUR lane with his quick feet and sharp elbows his personal scoring territory. This was before 3 pointers ruled today’s game, but Frazier could “kick it to the outside” to open shooters as well as anybody.

Triple-team him, and the other NC players would make you pay. Plus, it only made him play harder. He remembered the time he chased the opposing team into their locker room to settle an on-court score. “They said the president suspended me,” Frazier said on the court at Eleazer Arena, “but, really, it was Coach Williams who suspended me.”

On hand for Todd Frazier’s jersey retirement were his college coach, Jack Williams, and his high school coach, Bobby Brock. His teammate Buddy Bridges wore a barely fitting #22 CHS boys’ basketball jersey. A score of his high school and college teammates and admirers, friends and family rose to give Todd a standing ovation as the halftime ceremony wound to a conclusion, with the Wolves and Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters out of Tennessee anxious to take the court for what would be Newberry’s final regular season home game (the Wolves came away with a 71-68 senior day win denying LM its 20th win this season).

NC football standout Drew Watson, now a Wolves coach, remembered that Todd hung out with the offensive linemen when he was in college. He was tough and is remembered like Detroit Pistons’ Bad Boys tough.

Frazier was the team’s most improved player as a freshman, averaged 16 points a game as a sophomore, had a breakout junior season as an Honorable Mention All-American and wound up as the region’s Most Valuable Player. He netted for a career 54% of his shots from the floor and 70% free throws. In consecutive games on consecutive days, he scored 55 points and snagged 23 rebounds in wins over Erskine and PC. He had a career-average 16.9 points per game, right at 20 ppg as a senior.

Legendary Broadcaster Jimmie Coggins, voice of the Indians/Wolves, calls Frazier, “A beast on the floor. He was always ready to play and that is borne out by his numbers and awards. It was a privilege to call his games.”

Coach Williams said, “Todd didn’t have a normal college career. He had a lot of outside things going on with him but, I tell you, the guy always showed up at practice, he always showed up at games and he did a great job. It was a privilege, and I am proud to be Todd’s coach. We had a great time, and it was always great to beat Presbyterian.”

As a student-athlete, Frazier finished third in career points with 1,999 and fifth in career rebounds with 897. 

He is one of only two players in Newberry men’s college basketball history to finish in the top-5 in career scoring and rebounding. 

“I want to thank my mom and dad because without them, none of this would have ever happened,” Frazier said.

He thanked Newberry College for organizing the jersey retirement and expressed appreciation to all his friends and kids and grandkids for attending. He remembered playing days right on the floor where the ceremony was held – “I had a lot of stitches, 6 stitches right over there.”

In announcing the jersey retirement, NC Athletics outlined Frazier’s accomplishments:

During his four-year career (1985-89) Frazier played in 118 games ... Frazier also finished second in career free throws made (472), third in career field goals made (736), third in career field goals and (1,420) free throws attempted (679), and 10th in career field goal percentage (.518).  His 638 points during the 1988-89 season are the 10th most in school history. He was a consistent scorer and rebounder during his career and started several games his freshman season in 1985-86 and every game he played in the following three seasons. After being named the Most Improved Player as a freshman, Frazier averaged 16 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting 51.8% from the floor and 76.1% from the free throw line as a sophomore. He made 10-of-11 shots from the floor for 90.9% accuracy, fourth best in school history, finishing with 22 points in 23 minutes in a win against USC Aiken on November 22, 1986. Frazier scored a career-high 37 points, fourth most in school history, and grabbed 11 rebounds, while making 15 of 16 free throws in a 109-97 win over Voorhees on January 29, 1987. He grabbed a career-best 17 rebounds, fifth most in school history, and added 28 points against Erskine on December 12, 1987, and scored 30 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, made 16 of 18 free throws, dished out four assists and blocked two shots against Claflin on January 25, 1988. Frazier was the NAIA District 6 Player of the Week after averaging 31.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game after registering back-to-back 30-point scoring games against Limestone (31) and Presbyterian in the final week of January. He followed that up with his third consecutive 30-point game, scoring 32 points in a win over Allen. He added two other 30-point games in victories over USC Aiken (30) on February 18 and Voorhees (33) on March 2. In his senior season, Frazier was named second team NAIA District 6, closing out his career averaging over 20 points per game (20.6) for a second consecutive season along with a career-best 9.6 rebounds per contest. One of his best games was a 31 point, 13 rebound, three assist, three blocked shot effort against Presbyterian on January 28, 1989. He finished his career with a flourish by scoring 33 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against Voorhees on March 1, 28 points and 11 rebounds in a 109-98 win at Presbyterian on March 4 and 21 points and 14 rebounds against Lander March 6. Frazier was inducted into the Newberry Letterwinner’s Hall of Fame in 2006. Frazier graduated from Newberry College in 1989 and has been a long-time coach, educator and administrator in public schools in Newberry County.

On the court where he played, Todd also pointed to “players whose numbers are already up there” – the numbers that spell out a championship basketball legacy that dates to 1911. 

Jersey retirement prview here.

Wolves win the game here.