Former East Bay prep basketball star dies in I-5 crash days after playing in NCAA Tournament

Former Moreau Catholic basketball player Oscar Frayer died in a car crash this week in San Joaquin County, just days after playing for Grand Canyon University in the men’s NCAA Tournament.

Frayer, 23, was in a car that crashed into a California Highway Patrol vehicle early Tuesday morning on Interstate 5 northwest of Lodi. All three people in the car died: Frayer, his older sister Andrea Moore and a friend, according to a Thursday release from GCU.

CHP wrote in a Facebook post that the patrol vehicle had pulled over to assist a semi truck that had broken down. Around 2:30 a.m., the car with Frayer inside rear-ended the CHP vehicle, then hit a tree and burst into flames. Authorities have not said who was driving the car or given any reason why it veered onto the freeway shoulder.

Two CHP officers were hospitalized with major injuries, but are expected to survive.

The former Moreau star had finished his degree in communications at the Phoenix university and was set to walk in GCU’s commencement ceremony next month.

He started for the Antelopes in their game Saturday against Iowa, playing 25 minutes and recording eight points, five assists and three rebounds in GCU’s 86-74 loss to the Hawkeyes.

“There is no Moreau Catholic without Oscar,” Moreau coach Frank Knight said Thursday night. “Oscar was the first guy who came and really changed the whole focus of the school. Major impact. The attendance went up. Before Oscar got there, we were Division IV in terms of enrollment. We had like 600 kids. At the peak, we had like 1,400 kids.

“I am not saying Oscar was out there recruiting people. But it made Moreau good at something. People thought they could go. Then you started seeing the football team get good. It was crazy. Changed the culture almost immediately.”

Frayer, who graduated from Moreau in 2016, had a similar impact at Grand Canyon.

“He was the heartbeat of our team with his vibrant, energetic personality,” GCU coach Bryce Drew said of Frayer in the school’s release. “I cannot put into words the hurt and sadness we all feel, but we know he is in heaven and that gives us great joy to know we will be together again.”

Frayer was named first-team All-East Bay by this publication as a junior and a senior. He averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game for the Mission Valley Athletic League champions his junior season and averaged nearly 16 points and 10 rebounds per game as a senior.

Four years earlier, upon his arrival at Moreau as a 6-5 freshman, Frayer made an immediate impact, finishing second on the team in scoring his first season.

He turned out to be the centerpiece of the Hayward private school’s emergence as a basketball power, taking a program that had just one winning season in eight years before he came through the gym doors to league championships as a junior and senior.

Knight loves to use the hashtag “#chopthatwood” in his Tweets, and nobody has chopped that wood for the Mariners as well as Frayer in this era of sustained success for the program.

Frayer became a big brother to many at Moreau, even current players.

Knight’s son, Trey, a junior at the school, tweeted Thursday an old screenshot text from Frayer. It read, “Chin up. GRIND this summer. It can change yo life. I promise. Live, eat & sleep in the gym!”

Frayer’s own father died in a car crash when he was 7, according to a profile of him on the Grand Canyon University website. After the devastating loss, Frayer, his mother and two older sisters moved from Oakland to Hayward, and Frayer found basketball.

The tournament loss to Iowa was his final game.

When Frayer, who had overcome academic troubles at Grand Canyon, finished his college career for the purple-clad Antelopes in the NCAA Tournament, he tweeted March 20, “I bleed purple FOREVER!!!! THANK YOU LOPE NATION for the last 5’s been nothing less than amazing..from President Mueller, to our coaching staff, to my brothers who I compete with’s love FOREVER. 4 Gone”

Knight pinned that tweet at the top of his own Twitter page, adding, “All of us @MoreauCatholic are proud of how you represented! Job well done young man…. you are the reason we do what we do! #mchoops #ttp #LopesUp.”

Wednesday morning, Knight tweeted, “Not even enough characters to explain our relationship. I’m rattled right now. Im so so proud of you! Glad you went back and got that degree, glad you got to the Big Dance, glad I got to help & watch you become a great young man. I know your pops is proud! Love you! #Legacy #BigO”

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Author: Darren Sabedra