By Kaleb Carter
A dislocated finger and slow start to her team’s season has done nothing to derail Aaliyah Frazier’s optimism for her squad, nor has it clouded the vision for her future.
The junior point guard’s ability to handle the ball with the concise dexterity she normally possesses has been temporarily disrupted. Still, it is not done away with completely, evidenced in a recent 26-point, 7-rebound effort in the Wildcats’ 48-42 win over Plainfield South, her team’s first win of the season.
Your Lady Wildcats got our first conference win over South 48-42. Led by Aaliyah F. 26pts 7reb Chrissy F. 7pts 6reb, Grace B. 6pts 5reb and Sara K. 6pts on 2threes. JV won 47-32@PCHSsophGBB @Coach_HeldPCHS @Mr_Chlebek @MkruszWildcats @PCHSfanpage @Activities_PHS pic.twitter.com/uwtwxIt9tt— WILDCAT BASKETBALL (@PCHS_GBB) December 8, 2021
Frazier sustained the injury on Monday, Nov. 15, and found herself in the hospital. By Nov. 30, she was playing in her first game of the season against Joliet West, having only missed her team’s opener against Waubonsie Valley.
“I have to wear this tape, it’s really thick,” Frazer said. “I have big hands and that’s a big part of my game, ball-handling, shooting all that, it was just something to get used to. When we played against Joliet West, I had like three days to get used to holding the basketball with the tape on my hand. It was a challenge.
“We’re an underdog team going into almost every game,” Frazier said. “We just try to prove everybody wrong. We want to play the best we can. If we lose, it’s going to be a hard win for the other team. That’s our goal.”
The game becomes so much better when you just go have fun💯— Aaliyah Frazier (@Liyahhh_21) July 4, 2021
Check out my Spring highlights of 2021 https://t.co/IZRtTBWvo7
Frazier announced her commitment to Howard, an HBCU, in November, just days before the start of the girls high school season.
“I feel very confident,” Frazier said. “Confidence is actually key to playing good games. I just focus on having confidence and giving my team confidence.”
Able to stay low to the ground, cross up defenders and create off the bounce, Frazier told Illinois-Basketball.com that Howard coach Ty Grace likes that she’s a three-level scorer — able to score at the rim, in the mid-range and from distance. Frazier, who called Howard her dream school, is still glowing over the commitment. She’s excited about Howard’s fast pace and defensive intensity.
“For that to happen, not only is it relieving, it gives me more confidence,” Frazier said. “I did this. It’s more motivation as well, because not only did I get that offer, but I have to still work and continue to get better.”
She would not be the lone Illinois native on the Bison roster. Whitney Young graduate Brooklyn Fort-Davis, now a junior, has started seven games this season for the Bison as of Wednesday.
A connection between Grace and a cousin of Frazier’s helped solidify the relationship to Howard basketball, leaving her feeling strongly about the decision.
She also thinks her path to Howard is one that has left her with a lesson worth sharing.
“I didn’t play for a big-name AAU team,” Frazier said. “I played for the Illinois Raptors, which is not really a big name. I never really did. I tried one time, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea. So, I would like … other players that are really dedicated to the game, and they’re stressed because they don’t have offers or they’re not getting the look they want or they’re not getting as many looks, I just want to let them know, keep working and if you deserve it, it’s going to come. If you work hard, it’s going to show up.”