Keeping it Light

Jordan Horrobin / Staff Writer

Keeping it Light

Jordan Horrobin / Staff Writer

Ohio forward Sam Frayer wasn’t even the most recognizable athlete on his high school basketball team.

That role belonged to Andrew Benintendi, the all-time leading scorer at Cincinnati’s Madeira High School, who now happens to be the starting left fielder for the Boston Red Sox.

But based on The Post's online vote for its annual Post Picks, Frayer was named Ohio’s most recognizable athlete.

When teammate Doug Taylor found out, he laughed. Frayer, a senior walk-on, has played all of 39 minutes in his college career.

“He’s a good leader,” Taylor said. “Him being recognizable is a surprise, but as outgoing as he is, it’s not that big of a surprise.”

Frayer, who’s known as a guy who likes to joke around and keep the mood light, offered a more succinct explanation for his award.

“I’m kind of tall,” he said, referencing his 6-foot-8 frame. “I’m (studying) communications, so there are a lot of people in my classes … I’m not like the typical athlete who doesn’t take school seriously and goes to class and sits there. I’ll engage in class, and I think that probably helps a little bit.”

“So you gotta make it fun and be able to be engaged and never get down on yourself.”– Sam Frayer

At The Convo, fans may not recognize Frayer for his athletic stardom — after all, he’s scored just seven points in three-plus years — but it’s worth a look to watch him celebrate when Ohio scores a critical basket.

Frayer is annoyed by choreographed group celebrations, such as the ones that brought viral fame to Monmouth’s bench in 2015. Instead, he lets out his excitement in the moment. Once last season, an ESPN camera caught him swinging his arm wildly to signify an air guitar.

“The hardest part of being a walk-on is warming up for an hour, getting ready and then like, ‘Yeah, I’m just gonna sit for the next two hours,’” he said. “So you gotta make it fun and be able to be engaged and never get down on yourself.”

Staying engaged is a big part of what Frayer does for the Bobcats. During early morning lifts, he claps his hands and yells “let’s go” to pump up his teammates. His energy oozes into practice every day, as he matches — or exceeds — the intensity of the teammates he matches up against.

When Frayer plays hard, he pushes other players to be better.

“Guarding Sam in practice is almost like guarding your little brother when you dad is looking at you,” Taylor said. “You gotta be on your toes because if (Sam) does something, you’re in trouble.”

Frayer is one of just two players who’s been a Bobcat since the beginning of coach Saul Phillips’ time in Athens. What makes Frayer such a good fit at Ohio is that his gregarious personality mirrors that of Phillips, who said Frayer is “impossible to ignore” given how outspoken he is.

Being named Ohio’s most recognizable athlete just gives Frayer another thing to talk about.

“Does he know he’s been voted most recognizable?” Phillips asked. The answer, of course, was yes.

“Oh boy, that’s going to be an issue.”

Photo by: Carl Fonticella / For The Post

Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

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