Bobby Frasor never imagined it’d be so easy to walk away and end his basketball playing career.
Following two memorable seasons overseas -- one being the good sort of memorable and the other the bad sort -- Frasor decided to retire from playing and begin pursing a coaching career. As announced on Friday, Frasor, a Chicago native, has returned to his alma mater North Carolina to be the Tar Heels’ assistant video coordinator for the season.
“I was not going to pass this up and work somewhere other than North Carolina,” said Frasor, who was a senior guard on North Carolina’s 2009 NCAA championship team. “It was a dream come true.”
What wasn’t so dreamlike was Frasor’s experience playing for Achilleas Kaimakliou in Cyprus last season.
Frasor was initially willing to give Cyprus a try after enjoying his first overseas season in Bulgaria after graduating from North Carolina. He enjoyed Bulgaria’s culture. He liked his coach and team. He played well. He was paid on time.
In Cyprus, the situation was the complete opposite.
“I only got paid for four months of the seven I played there,” Frasor said. “I didn’t like my coach, my team. It wasn’t very professional. You’re living by yourself in a small apartment. There’s nothing to do. It wears on you.”
Frasor had planned on giving his playing career one more chance when he returned home. But with time, Frasor couldn’t bear the idea of enduring another year like the one in Cyprus. He was offered a contract to play in Finland, but ultimately turned it down.
With that, Frasor officially retired.
“To be honest, it wasn’t hard,” said Frasor, who was a McDonald’s All-American at Brother Rice in Chicago. “I’ll always miss playing in college. It was the best time of your life. Walking from overseas basketball wasn’t that hard for me. I’m perfectly fine with hanging up the shoes.”
Frasor always knew he wanted to coach when his playing days were over and follow in his father’s footsteps. His dad Bob was a legendary coach at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Ill., winning 297 games in 27 seasons.
But unlike his father, Frasor sought a college coaching career.
“The high school part was if I was a high school coach I would have to be a teacher, too,” Frasor said. “I didn’t think that would be fair for my students. I would always being thinking practice, practice, practice in the classroom. College is so great, you can just work with your team and have no distractions.”
During Frasor’s introduction to the college coaching world, he experienced one of its harsher realities. He interviewed over the summer with North Carolina-Wilmington coach Buzz Peterson for his team’s director of basketball operations’ position, but was passed over.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams had an opening for his assistant video coordinator position, and Frasor jumped at the chance. Frasor mostly will be in an office this season while breaking down video, taping games and exchanging film.
“You definitely have to start at the bottom and earn your stripes,” Frasor said. “You do the grunt work first. Ideally, this is a six-month thing and hopefully in the spring, go to the Final Four and get a director of basketball ops’ job and take the next step up.”
Frasor is enjoying being back at North Carolina. He’s living at a place that his close friend Tyler Hansbrough owns. He still laces up the shoes and plays when he has free time. He’s starting his coaching career. Plus, he hopes there’s another NCAA championship in his future.
“This is fun for me,” Frasor said. “It’s fun to be with this team. Hopefully, I’ll get another ring this season.”