To reach March Madness is one of the highest points of a young basketball player’s life, especially when that player attends a smaller school. Unfortunately for Oscar Frayer of Grand Canyon University, it was the last high point of his life. On Tuesday morning, the promising 23-year old forward lost his life in a car accident along with two others.
For the Frayer family, it’s deja vu all over again.
Grand Canyon basketball player Oscar Frayer has died in a car accident
The accident took place Tuesday morning around 2:30 a.m. in Lodi, Calif. According to ESPN, Frayer’s car struck a California Highway Patrol vehicle which had stopped to assist a stranded vehicle on the road. Frayer’s car then veered straight into a tree and burst into flames.
In addition to Frayer, his older sister, Andrea, and an unknown third passenger also died. The two C.H.P. officers suffered “major injuries” but are expected to live.
Although the accident took place on Tuesday morning, word of Frayer’s death did not become public until Thursday night.
“On the court, Oscar was known as the ‘High Flyer’ and will be remembered for his soaring dunks, tenacious defense and game-changing blocked shots,” said Grand Canyon University in a statement. “Off the court, he will be remembered for his infectious smile, energetic spirit and caring soul that made him one of the most well-liked students on campus.”
Oscar Frayer’s father also died in a car accident
Incredibly, Oscar and Andrea are not the first of their family to die in an automobile accident. When Oscar was only seven years old, his father, Oscar III, perished under similar circumstances.
According to the Grand Canyon University website, the Frayer family was preparing to move to Oakland to Sacramento at the time. In February 2005, the elder Oscar fell victim to sleep apnea while driving in broad daylight. His vehicle crossed four lanes of traffic before colliding with a rest stop sign.
Oddly, the elder Oscar may have foreshadowed his untimely death.
“When I’m not here, you’re the man of the house so take care of your mom and sisters,” he once said to his son.
Oscar kept his father in his heart up until the bitter end. The bio section of his Twitter, which is still up at the time of this writing, reads: “#RestInPeaceDad”
Frayer overcame academic ineligibility to reach March Madness
What makes the loss of the younger Oscar Frayer even more tragic is that it cut short a season-long redemption story.
If things had gone according to plan, Frayer would have graduated with his degree in communications a year ago. Unfortunately, he went down a dark path, and his grades suffered as a result. He was academically ineligible to play for the basketball team for the 2019-20 season.
“There were a lot of habits I had to give up and change,” said Frayer, per the school’s website. “I had to do a whole 360 on life.”
Fortunately, Frayer did exactly what he needed to do to get into the good graces of the school. Not only did he get his personal life back in order, but he got back in shape after a year away from the game. New basketball coach Bryce Drew welcomed Frayer with open arms, and the Antelopes reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in their history.
In their first-round loss to Iowa, Frayer put up eight points, five assists, three blocks, and one steal in a valiant effort.