While earning a spot on a Division I college basketball team is impressive enough in its own right, the opportunity can be even more special for high school recruits who learn they will get the chance to play at their respective school of choice.
Utica Eisenhower senior Alek Frascone will be doing so for a team he said he has wanted to play for since sixth or seventh grade — the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies.
Frascone met with Oakland coach Greg Kampe in his office last fall when he learned that he had earned a future spot on the Golden Grizzlies’ roster.
“I was overjoyed — a dream come true,” said Frascone, who is a four-year varsity player. “I thank God for it. Feels great. It’s like a huge weight lifted off your shoulders knowing that’s all set for next year. Now, I can just have fun and play basketball.”
Some of Frascone’s accolades at Eisenhower include being selected first team All-MAC, third team All-County and as an honorable mention on the Detroit Free Press All-State Class A team. He has also been a McDonald’s All-American nominee and was selected to the Macomb County All-Star team and All-MAC academic team.
Frascone already has some familiarity with Kampe, as he has previously attended basketball camps hosted by the coach. Kampe’s offensive system can be a fun one for players, and Frascone has already spent some time thinking about being a part of it.
“I’m super excited,” Frascone said of the opportunity to play for Kampe. “He’s up there in all-time leading wins. He knows how to play basketball. Fun style of play; can’t wait to get out there.”
Aside from his opinion that former Eisenhower player and current Oakland University junior Corey Petros could be a “great example” for Frascone, Eagles coach Dave Schwesinger has also considered how his senior guard could fit into Kampe’s system.
“He’s been around his (Kampe’s) camps,” he said. “He’s the type of player that can play at that high pace. They shoot a lot of 3s and get out in the open floor — that’s his type of basketball. I think he’ll thrive in that situation.
“Great leader on the floor and off the floor. He’s really developed into a very unselfish player. When it’s his turn to turn it on, he can go get his points, but he’s looking to set up his teammates and do whatever it takes to win, even if it means taking a step back from his own stats.”
His AAU coach, Jermaine Jackson, who played for the University of Detroit Mercy, as well as in the NBA and Europe, has had the opportunity to watch Frascone’s improvement over the years.
“A quality basketball player,” Jackson said of what Oakland is getting in Frascone. “A kid who was raised by a great mother and a great father, which is very important. He’s working to get better. He’s been trained well. And just by his education and knowledge of the game, he can fit in anybody’s system. … When you come to work and don’t complain — he’s one of those kids.”
This season is Oakland’s first in the Horizon League, which happens to be the same conference the University of Detroit Mercy plays in. A rivalry seems to have developed between the two programs, and although he is yet to suit up for Oakland, it is one Frascone already seems to be quite familiar with.
“Anytime you can go into a place and play a team you have a rivalry against, and all the emotion on the court and all the fans going crazy, it’s a great atmosphere to play in,” he said.
His family, as well as coaches, such as former Eisenhower coach Brandon Lemley, Schwesinger and Jackson are included among those who have assisted Frascone along the way, and he cited their support as a key to earning a chance to play Division I college basketball.
“I’ve always had great guidance,” said Frascone, who is a three-year captain. “Whether it’s been my coaches, my parents, my sister, my cousins, my uncles — everyone I’ve played basketball with really showed me the right and wrong thing to do and make good choices. Also, just a work ethic — knowing you have to wake up every day, go work out, go shoot. Because if you’re not, someone else always is.”
Frascone plans to major in pre-med at Oakland.