Krystal Frazier has never taken it easy on her little brother.
The 1,000-point scorer at Rice, who finished her career in 2006-07, has frequently helped Tim reach his full potential. From the time Krystal helped teach her younger brother the game, to the time he learned he would miss the remainder of the season due to injury last month, her tough love has always been a source of guidance.
“She asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I said, ‘I want a new Achilles,’ ” Tim said with a smile.
“And she said, ‘You have one, so you better use it the best you can.’ ”
After rupturing his left Achilles tendon on Nov. 18, Penn State basketball player Tim Frazier quickly realized his dream senior year would no longer come to fruition. Yet, he said his sister has stood firm in reminding him to stay positive and control what he can in preparation for what will be his final season next year, assuming his medical redshirt is granted by the NCAA.
Tim said he looks to Krystal, who suffered the same injury prior to her final collegiate season, as a role model and she has been helping him cope with the injury tremendously.
After being anchored by an electric scooter for several weeks following the injury, though, Tim said there were definitely still days when he struggled to come to terms with his fate.
Tim’s mother, Janice, said it is during these days when those close to the Houston native have proven most vital.
“Even if he starts to try to feel bad about stuff, somebody is there to remind him, ‘You don’t have anything to be sad about,’ ” Janice said.
“ ‘There’s nothing to be ashamed of. This just makes you better. Like the old saying goes, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ ”
Tim said Krystal and his family has always been there to help him acknowledge the reality of the situation, one he must try to make the most of.
“It’s been helpful,” Tim said. “My sister has always been a role model in my life. And for her, [having been] through the same injury, she sends me positive stuff every day.”
Krystal said this realistic form of support has been the case ever since the sibling rivalry began for the two Fraziers in their youth.
Similar to her unsympathetic response to his Christmas wish, Krystal said she has been tough on her brother on the basketball court, too.
“Me and Tim are competitive, so there was never a leniency going there,” said Krystal, who is five years older than her brother. “I never said, ‘Oh, I’ll let you have this basket.’ It was always, ‘I’m going to block your shot, regardless, if you’re five or 10.’ ”
The harsh lessons Tim learned from his family on the court likely helped him get off to a fast start to his career, which has flourished since the Lion landed in Happy Valley. The energetic All-Big Ten point guard averaged 18.8 points per game last year, and also led the team in assists and steals.
However, perhaps what has helped him most recently is the persistence he learned from his sister.
Krystal recovered from her Achilles injury during her junior season at Rice to play in a career-high 33 games in her final season. Her senior year, she averaged 10 points per game to become the 13th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark.
The former semi-pro player said she could tell Tim from experience that this isn’t a season he should view as a waste.
“This is a time for him just to get better all around, and he’ll worry about the running and the jumping and the shooting part later,” Krystal said. “But, he can work on getting stronger and getting better [that way].”
Tim, who is now moving on crutches, said he planned to start upper body work outs as soon as he is able to stand without support and this would be a major emphasis for him throughout the current season.
The vibrant guard said he expects to be fully recovered by next season, but as Krystal reminded him, the road won’t be easy.
“Some of the things I said were, ‘It is a difficult injury,’ ” Krystal said. “But that does not mean that he can’t come back better than he was before.”
Janice, who has had to support both children during their recoveries, said her main message to Tim has been that this is just a “stepping stone” in his life.
“It’s just a temporary setback, but the plan for his life stays the same,” Janice said. “God hasn’t changed that part of it. He’s just given [Tim] a little extra to work on.”