With a little less than a month until signing day, Dallas (Texas) Kimball shooting guard Keith Frazier is one of a handful of five-star prospects who remains uncommitted at this time. That status is expected to change any day now.
Last week, Frazier announced he will make his decision on March 28th, and choose between his finalists of Texas Tech, Texas A&M and SMU. There is now a possibility the five-star shooting guard could announce his decision prior to the March 28th deadline set last week, after deciding to cancel a planned official visit to A&M this upcoming weekend.
Now that Frazier is working with a fluid deadline, the timing of Texas Tech's next basketball hire could play a huge factor in his final decision. If Tech is unable to make a coaching decision by the time he announces, it will put the Red Raiders on the outside looking in for Frazier.
RedRaiderSports.com spoke with Frazier's mentor, Erven "Big E" Davis, who shed some light on the situation.
"Pretty much, we've heard the same thing everyone else has heard (about Tech's coaching situation), they let go of all their assistant coaches," Big E said. "The interim head coach is the person that is his sole recruiter. I haven't really called them or talked to (athletic director) Kirby (Hocutt) about exactly what's going on with them."
Big E added some additional thoughts how a lingering coaching search could hinder Tech's recruitment of the five-star guard.
"He's going to make a decision by the 28th regardless. Of course, if he doesn't know who the head coach is, that probably doesn't bode well for them, but in the same token, he has to make his decision," he said. "Keith wants to go into the McDonald's (All-American) game knowing what school he wants to go to so he can enjoy the experience. He doesn't want to have all the focus on him and what school he's going to and all that other stuff."
With Chris Walker as Frazier's sole recruiter for the Red Raiders, many think Tech will be unable to land Frazier unless the interim tag is dropped from his title. Even though it would benefit them, Big E says the Red Raiders' hopes aren't exclusively tied to Walker.
"One thing about it, him taking a visit down to Texas Tech was solely because the relationship with Walker," Big E explained. "But, him actually coming to the school and actually really considering it like he is now is based off the people he met, the school, the environment and all that. Chris Walker is a big factor in that, but I don't know who they're going to hire. They might hire someone else where there might already be a relationship, I don't know. The relationship though is what got us to take the visit."
"Of course, if they hire somebody that we just didn't know, then we wouldn't be doing that. With Chris, it would be a benefit for them hiring him, but I don't want to say something like if Chris doesn't get it, then there's no way he'd consider Tech."
Big E continued about the future hire, adding some personal thoughts about Walker, who is widely thought of as the leading candidate for the vacant head coaching position.
"If they don't hire Chris, I don't know who they're going to hire. It might be someone else I'm not even thinking about. It might be a good person that, at the end of the day, is right for the job. That's up to them," he said. "I know Chris did a great job and we wouldn't even be considering Texas Tech without Chris. I'm hoping he gets a chance. He's a great dude and the type of guy I would trust with my own son. I guess we'll see what happens."
Aside from his desire to stay relatively close to his hometown of Dallas, Frazier's three finalists are not by accident. Outside of proximity to home, each program offers a different benefit to the McDonald's All-American according to Big E.
"In all of those programs you're going to be playing against other NBA talent, especially when you get into conference play. You look at A&M playing in the SEC, they have the most draft picks come out of that conference every year. Scouts are going to be watching you play against those guys.
"At Texas Tech, I think you have a platform where they're kind of waiting on a special player like Keith. You can tell by the community and the people around there and people in high positions. It's set up for someone like a Keith Frazier to come in there and make a difference at a school that hasn't had someone like that in a while. I think that's something that could definitely pay dividends for someone trying to make it at the next level."
"Then, you go look at SMU, you have a guy that obviously knows what it takes to get there and can be straight up and honest with you about where you are and where you need to be. That doesn't mean that nobody else can tell you that, but the resume is there. I mean, he's the one who hired Gregg Popovich, so the connections are definitely there. When you talk about the next level, you definitely have to consider him as well."
For Tech, SMU and Texas A&M fans, the final few days of the nation's 22nd overall player should be a wild one. RedRaiderSports.com will keep you posted with the latest.