Athlete of the Year: Frye’s gym-rat work ethic pays off

Socastee High hoops star Travis Frye doesn’t mind being called a gym rat. It’s a badge of honor for the self-made sharp shooter and the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Year for boys basketball.

“Actually, I’m at the gym right now,” Frye said when asked about the rodent-related nickname used by coaches and teammates to describe his game. “I put in a lot of hard work in the offseason and it paid off for me last season.”

Frye led the Braves in scoring with 18 points per game and showed off his all-around game by averaging seven rebounds and six assists per game. His unselfish play helped his team but may have hurt his chances at a college scholarship.

“A lot of people don’t understand. I could have averaged 30 points per game if I just wanted to score, but that’s not my game,” Frye said. “I want to get my teammates involved and spread it around. That’s what it’s all about.”

Frye and the Braves had flashes of brilliance last season, winning a game in the competitive Beach Ball Classic for the first time since 2006. Frye scored 22 points in that 62-42 victory over Rye (N.Y.).

Frye was named Region VIII-AAA player of the year despite his team’s disappointing fourth-place finish in region standings. But that was enough for a playoff berth, and Socastee shocked top-seeded Bluffton in the first round of the state tournament with a 70-61 upset win on the road in which Frye tallied 18 points.

“Even though we didn’t have a great record going into the playoffs, I really felt like we could play with anybody in the state,” Frye said of the 14-10 Braves. “After we beat Bluffton, I knew we could play with anybody.”

Unfortunately for the Braves, their next “anybody” turned out to be eventual state champion Hartsville. Socastee trailed by only one point in the second half but struggled with Frye on the bench with foul trouble in a 73-54 loss.

“I had three fouls in the first quarter, so I spent a lot of time sitting on the bench feeling helpless,” Frye said. “But I was proud of my team. Socastee isn’t known for having a lot of great athletes but we made a good run at it.”

As did Frye, who did his best to showcase his talents while also being a team player. With no Division I offers coming his way after the season, Frye opted to go to an upstart local prep school in hopes of getting another chance.

“I had some opportunities to go to smaller schools, but I really want to play D-I and maybe another year will give me that chance,” Frye said. “If not, then I can go play D-II, but I felt this is my best move.”

Frye will attend the new South Carolina Sports Academy in Garden City Beach. But regardless of where he ends up, it’s a safe bet you’ll find him in the gym.

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