When Kent State has a home victory in hand late in a game, someone from the stands will inevitably start the chant.
“We want Frank! We want Frank!”
That would be Brian Frank, a Golden Flashes senior forward.
Frank is not a star player. He’s not a starter.
But on those occasions when the host Flashes are up late, the fans clamor for Frank, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward from Gainesville, Fla.
“Obviously he’s a popular guy amongst our fans,” Kent State coach Rob Senderoff said. “And he’s popular with me, too, because when he checks in, it means the game’s over.”
In three seasons at Kent State, Frank has seen limited time in 19 games. In fact, his career line reads like this: two field goals, one free throw, an assist and two steals.
But tonight when the Flashes (17-12, 7-7) host Bowling Green (12-17, 6-8) in a Mid-American Conference game, Frank will make his first career start.
“He deserves the opportunity to start,” Senderoff said. “He’s been very helpful to our program. He comes to work every day and practices very hard. He plays every position and knows them well. He runs the other team’s offense from just about any position on the floor.”
Of course there’s a fine line to being a player who rarely sees the court, yet is able to maintain a leadership role on the team.
“He takes getting yelled at without being sensitive, and our guys respect him because of how hard he works,” Senderoff said. “When necessary, he’ll jump on other guys.”
The other KSU seniors playing their final home game tonight are Chris Evans and Randal Holt. Combined, they average 31.4 points a game, accounting for 43.7 percent of the Flashes’ scoring.
Evans, who transferred from Illinois Wabash Community College before last season. served as KSU’s sixth man on a veteran-laden team last season. He was asked to shoulder a bulk of the scoring load this year. Evans, 6-foot-8, 220-pounds, has done that and more, leading the Flashes in scoring (17.0 points per game) and rebounding (7.6). He is the only player in the MAC to rank among the top 10 in scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage, steals and minutes played.
“Chris has exceeded everybody’s expectations,” Senderoff said. “He wasn’t on anybody’s preseason all-conference list, wasn’t in any magazines. Nobody expected him to have this kind of season except for the people in this office.
“Chris Evans deserves all the credit for how hard he worked starting in the weight room once last season ended. He never left Kent. He didn’t go home for intersession, instead stayed and took classes all summer and is on course to graduate in May. He’s worked as hard as anyone who’s ever been here and made as big of a jump from his junior to his senior season as anyone we’ve had here.”
It took Holt a little longer than he hoped to fully heal from offseason knee surgery. Once Holt, a Cleveland Glenville graduate, did about midway though the season, he again became KSU’s consistent threat from 3-point range.
Holt is the team’s second-leading scorer (14.3) and has become KSU’s most prolific outside shooter, hitting a program-best 234 3-point shots. Holt, 6-1, 170 pounds, made 11-of-18 3-pointers in two wins last week.
“Getting healthy had everything to do with Randal’s growing production the second half of the season,” Senderoff said. And so are the Flashes, winning five of their past six with two games remaining in the regular season.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Kent State blog at http://www.ohio.com/flashes. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.