Grand Canyon forward Oscar Frayer died in a car accident Tuesday, three days after the first and last NCAA tournament game of his five-year college basketball career.
GCU announced his death Thursday night:
— GCU Lopes (@GCU_Lopes) March 26, 2021
The 23-year-old Frayer, his sister and his girlfriend were in an SUV when it veered off the road early Tuesday morning, hit a California Highway Patrol car, struck a tree and caught fire, according to SF Gate. All three occupants of the SUV reportedly died, while two CHP personnel sustained serious injuries. Photos posted by the CHP Stockton Facebook page show the extent of the damage.
News of Frayer’s death was first reported by WAC Hoops Digest.
Only 57 hours before his crash, Frayer had been playing No. 2 seed Iowa in the West bracket of March Madness. Frayer, a redshirt senior, finished with eight points, five assists, three rebounds and three blocks, and delivered one of the game’s highlights with a chase-down block of the Hawkeyes’ Connor McCaffery.
Frayer, whose father also died in a car crash according to San Francisco’s KPIX, had reportedly been visiting family in California after the loss to Iowa.
A member of the Grand Canyon men’s basketball team since 2016, Frayer started as a freshman out of Hayward, California, and accrued 970 points and 515 rebounds over the course of five years. He was forced to sit out what would have been his senior year due to academic ineligibility, but made it back to the court this season and helped lead the Antelopes to the first March Madness berth in school history. The program won both the WAC regular season and tournament championship, its first titles since making the jump to Division I in 2013.
"We love O," GCU head coach Bryce Drew said. "He was the heartbeat of our team with his vibrant, energetic personality. 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."
Following the loss to Iowa, Frayer posted what turned out to be his final tweet, thanking the Grand Canyon fans for following along.
I bleed purple FOREVER!!!! THANK YOU LOPE NATION for the last 5 years..it’s been nothing less than amazing..from President Mueller, to our coaching staff, to my brothers who I compete with everyday..it’s love FOREVER. 4 Gone🤘🏿💜
News of Frayer’s death prompted numerous tributes to a player gone too soon, from both teammates and opponents:
Man, I’m at a loss for words and just in shock. Just watched you play a couple days ago and now you’re gone. You were one-of-a-kind and one of the most upbeat and energetic people I’ve ever been around. Could put a smile on anyone’s face. Love you, O. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/SkghZ0Xyyd
4!! Love you brotha. This one killin me. pic.twitter.com/3IfglcuabI
I love you O, you was my role model man. You believed in me from the jump, ain’t many people really truly care abut me but you did. Will always be my big bro! @Oscar_Frayer RIP BROTHER! THIS FOR YOU!
Took a liking to Oscar Frayer when I met the young man back in 2015. Had an energetic spirit to his character and instantly I became a FAN. 😔😔💔💔 RIP young fella. Praying for his family.
Prayers up to everyone affected by Oscar Frayer’s death. An outstanding competitor who had his entire life in front of him. Don’t take life for granted. Rest In Peace!
We are saddened and shocked to hear the tragic news about Oscar Frayer. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Oscar’s family, friends and all associated with @GCU_MBB during this time.#AggieUp | #LopesUphttps://t.co/22dA1M6r9n
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