Tim Frost was a second-team all-MWC selecetion in 2002-03.
Jan. 17, 2004
By Autumn Wehr, Sports Information Student Assistant
Tim Frost enters his second and final season at the University of Utah with an extra challenge hanging over his head. You see, Frost and teammate Nick Jacobson are the lone seniors on a very young Runnin' Ute squad. This leaves Frost knowing he must use his experience and knowledge to provide leadership for the younger players.
"Being one of the only seniors is a really different experience," states Frost. "Coach Majerus is so technical with everything, which is hard as a freshman," he continues. "When I was a junior I relied on the seniors to help with a lot of the technical stuff." Now, Frost has moved into that senior role. But don't worry, he's more than qualified for the job.
The 6-10, 236-pound center is as experienced a player as they come. The past two summers he has played for the NIT college-select All-Stars. In 2002, he played with the team in late July on its tour to Canada. In August of 2003, Frost helped the All-Stars go 7-0 on its tour through the Bahamas. "This year was the second year in a row that I have gone. We played the Bahamas National Team. It was a lot of fun," says Frost.
Last summer, Frost was one of the 52 players invited to participate in the 2003 USA Basketball Men's National Team Trials for the Pan American Games. The trials took place at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Although he did not make the team, Frost feels the entire experience was valuable. "It was disappointing because I did not make it, but it really was good to be there," proclaims Frost.
Basketball has always been a big part of the Klamath Falls, Ore., native's life, which explains why he truly loves the game.
"I started playing basketball and lots of other sports when I was young. I played basketball and baseball in high school, but I was the best at basketball. I am 6-10, which helps a lot," jokes Frost.
After high school, Frost decided to continue his basketball career and began his Division I career at the University of Portland. Frost enjoyed great success with the Pilots, earning eight starts as a freshman. In two seasons, he started 49 games and recorded 103 blocks to break the Portland school record.
During his final season at Portland, Frost led the team in points (14.9 ppg), rebounds (7.0 rpg), and blocks (1.9 bpg), while shooting 77.4 percent from the free throw line. Frost's work ethic earned him honors on the all-West Coast Conference first team for 2000-01. It was at the conclusion of the breakout season when Frost decided to transfer to Utah.
The prestige of playing for Rick Majerus, and the solid reputation of the basketball program influenced his decision to make the change. Frost was also hoping for a chance to experience "March Madness." NCAA rules required Frost to redshirt the 2001-02 season; however, he was allowed to participate in team practices. Frost made the most of his redshirt season by turning his focus to improving on the court and in the weight room.
Last season, the junior finally made his debut as a Runnin' Ute. Number 54 made his first official appearance in the John M. Huntsman Center in November of 2002. It didn't take long for Frost to establish himself as a strong interior presence and fan favorite. He started all 33 games at center, scoring 20 points or four occasions and reaching double figures 23 times. Frost finished the year ranked 14th in the Mountain West Conference in scoring (12.8 ppg) and 14th in rebounds (4.9 rpg), while being named to the second team all-league. "It was great to be recognized as one of the better players in the conference," says Frost.
The Portland transfer proved to be a strong asset to the Utes' lineup. In 2002-03, Utah finished with a 25-8 overall record and took a share of the MWC regular-season championship with an 11-3 mark in league play. Frost not only got his chance to play in the NCAA Tournament, but was also able to enjoy an upset as the ninth-seeded Runnin' Utes beat No. 8 seed Oregon, 60-58, in the first round.
"Honestly, I was surprised we were even picked to lose," states Frost. "We didn't get a lot of respect last year."
Frost helped the Utes earn respect that game with a solid effort, scoring nine points while picking up seven boards. "We were excited to play Oregon," Frost recalls. "It was a do or die game. Playing that far in the NCAA rounds was a great experience."
Moving to this year, Frost is anxious for Utah to top its performance from a season ago. However, his excitement has been tempered by some personal setbacks. A sore back has prevented him from reaching his full potential in practice, and left him watching four games from the bench during the nonconference season.
"My back injury has slowed me down quite a bit. I haven't even practiced a full practice yet," explains Frost. "I missed six weeks of practice in the preseason."
The injury prevented Frost from playing in the season opener against Georgia State. However, he was able to return for the second game versus Minnesota and return to the starting lineup for the next nine games.
Frost looked like he was getting back to his old self in early December. Frost picked up his first double-double when the Utes battled the San Diego Toreros on Dec. 6, scoring 15 points and nabbing 10 boards. He also had a double-double a week later against Savannah State, getting 13 points and 12 rebounds.
However, his condition worsened after Christmas, forcing Frost to miss three of the next four games. Frost doesn't need to look at his statistics to realize he hasn't been the same since the injury. "It has affected my timing and I don't feel in sync when I play," he explains. If his condition doesn't improve, Frost could be severely limited the rest of the season, and possibly forced to sit out entirely.
Making the situation even more frustrating is Utah's potential with a healthy Frost on the court. Frost's lowpost mate, Australian freshman Andrew Bogut, has had an impressive start to his career. Playing Frost and Bogut together gives the Utes a powerful one-two punch. And, having another big player inside allows Frost to step outside on occasion and shoot jump shots, which makes him a tougher match-up and the Utes more potent offensively. "Things like that are always helpful," he proclaims. "I like playing with Bogut because he is an unselfish player."
Despite his physical problems, the senior is still optimistic about the season. Utah completed its nonconference season with a 12-3 record, including a perfect 9-0 mark at home. Frost expects the Utes to continue their success as the conference season approaches.
"I think we will do well. We struggled a little bit early in the season. But, if we can learn to play on the road," Frost emphasizes, "we will do well in the conference and have a good season."
Frost is really looking forward to one match up in particular this season in BYU. The Cougars were selected to win the league in the preseason polls. "Obviously it's a big motivator, but we beat them twice last year," he proclaims. "On paper they may have the better team, but we're definitely excited to play them to see."
This Runnin' Ute has set many goals for his last year of college basketball. "Most of my season goals are team oriented. They are to win the conference and go far in the NCAAs," says Frost. "If we accomplish these, I will have a good season."
Frost has also changed his look for this season. "The coaches got on me a lot about my longer hair," he explains. "I thought I would go ahead and cut it short so it did not get in the way."
After graduation, Frost wants to pursue a professional basketball career. If that doesn't work out, he plans to utilize his economics degree. "I really want to continue to play. If I don't, I guess I will have to find a job out there," Frost states.
With all of the things Frost hopes to accomplish this season, he is aware that his most important job, first and foremost, is to be a senior and a leader. One of the most frustrating aspects of his injury is that it has hindered him in this area. "I am frustrated because I feel like my leadership role on the court has not been so great. I could not get out there and practice at all early in the year. I want to improve on that," says Frost. "I'll still try to do as much as I can."
Getting the younger Utes to believe in his "team first" approach could be Frost's most enduring contribution for 2003-04 and beyond.