Wednesday, October 20, 1999

Xavier's Frey stronger, confident




BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Kevin Frey looks different. It's more than his hair, which is grown out for the first time in five years.

        Like most sophomores, Frey has lost that bewildered, tentative demeanor common among freshmen.

        After a handful of Xavier practices, Frey has shown to be stronger, quicker and in better shape than a year ago and has been one of the more impressive Musketeers.

        “I feel a lot more comfortable out there,” the 6-foot-8 forward said. “I know what's going on. I'm not trying to figure it out as I go along. I know where to be. That just helps you feel a lot more confident about yourself.”

        Frey was one of six players to appear in all 36 games last season, and he started 30 of them. He averaged 5.7 points (sixth on the team) and 5.0 rebounds (third).

        He scored in double figures five times and rebounded in double figures four times. Frey had a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) in a 20-point home victory over George Washington.

        Still, Frey calls his rookie season “frustrating” and “up and down.”

        “New year, new experience,” he said. “Everything was new to me. It took me a while to find my role.”

        He stayed in Cincinnati all summer, worked hard with strength and conditioning coach Dave Armstrong and improved his eating habits.

        Armstrong said Frey's weight is up to 230 from 218, and the gain is all muscle.

        “His body fat is under 9

        percent,” Armstrong said. “There is no excess tissue on him whatsoever. His attitude has been very positive. He's been a leader in the weight room. He sets an example that few can follow.”

        Frey played power forward and center last season and in some games was undersized playing close to the basket. He knew a greater commitment to getting stronger was essential.

        “Part of coaching is telling a guy what he needs to work on, but then in the offseason he's got to want to do it,” XU assistant coach Mark Schmidt said. “He knew he needed to get stronger, he needed to be in better shape, he needed to work on his shot. And he's done that.”

        Frey gives Xavier versatility because of his ability to shoot from the perimeter as well as score inside.

        He hit two of three from 3-point range in a victory at Virginia Tech last season. Over the last seven games, he was 4-of-10 from long range. But Frey wasn't always comfortable taking jump shots with veterans Lenny Brown, Gary Lumpkin and James Posey on the floor.

        Coach Skip Prosser said Frey didn't want to make any mistakes and lacked confidence.

        “I think his role will be a lot different,” Prosser said. “He'll be more of a counted-on guy as opposed to a complementary guy.”

        “Lots of times guys make their biggest improvement between their freshman and sophomore years ... For us to be an effective team, Lloyd (Price) and Kevin and Aaron (Turner) are all going to have to improve dramatically.”

        During the offseason, rumors persisted that Frey was leaving Xavier. One radio station reported that he was on his way to Northwestern to play for Kevin O'Neill.

        “I really paid no attention to it,” Frey said. “I heard a few things. I was just like, "Where does somebody come up with this kind of stuff?' It's totally not true, so why would somebody say it?

        “It's weird. It's kind of funny, actually.”

        He's not only back, he's prepared mentally and physically.

        “He's playing more and thinking less, anticipating as opposed to reacting,” Prosser said. “I think he has shown improvement.”

        “This year he's got a different outlook,” Schmidt said. “He's confident. He knows he's got to score points for us to win.”

       



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