Girls basketball: Family connections fuel Frasco's fervor
Emily Frasco grew up playing basketball with her brother Bobby.
Whether it was in the driveway, YMCA in Mt. Prospect or the Prospect Field House, Emily and Bobby would be there for each there, rebounding each other's shots and working on their shooting.
Bobby now wears No. 3 as a senior for the Quincy College men's basketball team.
Emily wears No. 3 as a senior for Prospect's girls basketball team.
"My brother was a big inspiration for me," said Emily, whose father Sam played football at St. Patrick High School and her cousin Sam starred in football at Augustana.
Emily attended almost all of Sam's games in Rock Island where he was one of the nation's top Division III quarterbacks.
Now Frasco is quarterbacking the Prospect girls basketball offense, whether it's with her solid shooting touch or passing abilities (she led the team in scoring and assists last winter).
None of which went unnoticed by the Alabama-Birmingham women's basketball coaching staff. Blazers coach Andy Norton and his staff paid attention to the skills Frasco was showing with her Illinois Elite AAU team coached by Tom Hohenadel.
She made an official visit to Birmingham and fell in love with the school and the team.
"The campus was beautiful and I felt right at home," Frasco said. "The coaching staff was awesome. The head coach, Randy Norton, was the coach of my Prospect coach my freshman year."
Frasco is referring to Ashley Sandstead, the Knights former head coach who is now at Stevenson.
Norton was an assistant when Buffalo Grove graduate Sandstead was at Illinois State.
Now Norton will be coaching two more Mid-Suburban League products.
In addition to Frasco joining his team a year from now as a freshman, Wheeling graduate Deanna Kuzmanic will be a senior.
When Frasco was a freshman, she played against Kuzmanic in high school.
"When I made my official visit, Deanna went to breakfast with us," Frasco said. "It's weird -- we never thought we'd be teammates in college. We talked about that. It was funny."
Opposing teams will have to talk about containing Frasco.
The versatile 6-foot guard can do many things on the basketball court.
"She is confident in how she plays and she has the inside-outside game where she can drive and shoot," said Prospect coach Gabrielle Lovin, a former Division I standout at Manhattan College in New York. With that and the confidence she possesses, she is a triple threat."
Frasco has been playing the game for as long as she can remember and was the same scoring threat when she played for St. Raymond in Mt. Prospect.
She suffered a knee injury that required surgery midway through her sophomore season at Prospect, and then returned to average nearly 12 points a game while shooting 45 percent as a junior.
"I love the atmosphere the sport brings," she said. "I love the relationship I have made with my teammates and coaches and obviously I love shooting with all the work I've put into that.
"We have chance to do well this season. It's sad we lost Mandy (Withey, a starter last year who moved to Texas). It's sad without her but we will still work hard, and go out and do our best."
Lovin knows she has one of the best scoring guards in the area.
"Obviously she will have a leadership role with her scoring but I think she'll also lead vocally," Lovin said. "She has played through adversity working really hard to come back from that knee injury.
She led us in scoring and assists and had a lot of steals for us so I think it's time for her to kind of come into her own."
Frasco is excited for her fourth and final prep season.
"It's crazy how fast it went," she said. "It's weird by senior year already. It will be a good yea. I will have to score and dish the ball. I have to be a leader."
A Duke University basketball fan, Frasco has learned a lot watching college basketball.
"I've definititely learned how teams all come together to play as one," she said. "My high school coach (Lovin) had taught me a lot. She really knows what she's talking about.
And I have to thank my AUU coach (Hohenadel). And my parents (Sam and Kellii)."
Because of people like them, Frasco is ready to enjoy her senior year and then move on to Alabama.
"It's fun to see a young athlete playing sports and see what they become," Cottrell said. "I think UAB fits her very well. It's a family-type team and she will fit in well. And now she can just enjoy her senior year, which is always nice."