DALLAS -- When standout transfer Keith Frazier received clearance from the District 11-4A executive committee to play for defending 4A state champion Dallas Kimball, his first thought was not winning the state tournament -- it was winning the DISD/Coca-Cola Tournament.
“The day of his DEC meeting, he walked out and cried,” Kimball coach Royce Johnson said. “I thought he was going to talk about state, but he said every year since the eighth grade his mother had brought him to the Coca-Cola Tournament and he said, ‘Man, what I would do to play in front of that big crowd.’ ”
Frazier got his chance to shine in front of that big crowd and led his new team to a championship trophy with a 56-53 win over Dallas Hillcrest on Thursday.
Frazier’s 26-point performance helped his team win and earned him the tournament MVP plaque.
Both teams began the game trading shots from behind the arc, which fit right into Frazier’s game.
In the first half, the five-star, No. 18 recruit in the class of 2013 received a pass on the right wing, created space with a spinning fadeaway and drilled the shot from distance. He followed that later in the half by pulling up in traffic from the end of the scorer’s table and sinking the 3-pointer from a different area code.
“It doesn’t seem like the rim's too far away,” Fraizer said. “It just comes naturally, to be honest.”
Hillcrest rode a hot streak through the tournament and remained right on the heels of Kimball until the final seconds. Frazier hit two free throws with 12 seconds remaining in the game to put his team up by three.
Hillcrest guard Timothy Singleton's missed a potential game-tying shot as time expired, allowing Kimball to finally let out a sigh of relief.
Johnson said he’s known for a while this would be Hillcrest’s year to shine in District 12-4A, which showcases strong Dallas Woodrow Wilson and Dallas Lincoln teams, but Frazier was still slightly surprised at the fight Hillcrest demonstrated.
“They kind of came out of nowhere," Frazier said. "They were a good team and played hard, but we came out with the win.”
It’s a win that means more than any other pre-district win to Johnson, who said he believes the DISD Tournament is the best preparation for the playoffs his team can receive.
For Frazier, it was not only playoff-like experience gained, it was simply experience in becoming the next superstar Kimball Knight.
“He wasn’t a Kimball Knight walking through the door and he’s still in progress in becoming a full Kimball Knight, but he wants to be one," Johnson said. "He’s accepting the challenge and he’s a very coachable kid. He wants to be great and that’s how I’m going to coach him -- like he’s going to be great.”