Managing the clock
Rob Frozena is living a dream and savoring every second in the countdown of his final Marquette season. Don’t shake him awake yet, not with Syracuse, Villanova and USF just ahead.
From wearing the blue and gold jersey to walking out of the tunnel into the Bradley Center to the cheers of 18,000 fans to sitting courtside and willing his teammates into scoring position, Frozena wants to grab hold of each minute and bottle it. “I’m a student getting the opportunity to be a part of something amazing. I don’t really know how it happened,” says the four-year walk-on.
Frozena deserves some credit for putting himself in this position. And he did try to prepare his mom.
“I always wanted to play at the highest level possible,” he says. “During my sophomore year in high school, I told my mom I was going to walk on at Marquette. She’s a realist. She laughed and said, ‘That’s a tall order.’”
Frozena wasn’t fooling. He convinced then-Coach Tom Crean to give him a tryout the fall semester of his freshman year. When injuries shortened the roster, Frozena got the call.
The first person he reached with the news was his mom. He told her tickets would be waiting at the Bradley Center will-call window.
“From the first practice I was kind of in awe. I didn’t know what to expect,” Frozena says. The 6-foot-1-inch guard who was a three-sport letter winner at St. Mary Central High School in Neenah, Wis., began building a Marquette résumé. He appeared in seven games as a freshman and one game as a sophomore. This year he will earn his fourth letter as a Golden Eagle.
Marquette fans know Frozena’s story, and they go berserk when Coach Buzz Williams sends him out on the floor.
To people who ask if he would like more playing time, the answer is no. He loves his role. And here’s where Frozena gives a primer on what it means to be part of a team.
“I don’t have the physical gifts every-one else has. It’s my job to help get the guys as good as possible,” he says, “but we’re 15 brothers going into battle together. I absolutely love the games. I don’t care if I play no minutes. I love the team, the guys, Coach and what he stands for. It’s what any person could dream of.”
Frozena has favorite memories, and one that stands out happened sophomore year when he went into the game against Seton Hall and scored his first career field goal.
“I thought my eardrums would rupture,” he says, remembering how the fans went wild.
ESPN’s SportsCenter featured the play in its lineup that night, and the announcer said to watch the team celebrate when Frozena sinks one for Marquette.
“Cubby to this day says ‘I gave you that assist,’” Frozena says, referring to former teammate David Cubillan. “What amazed me most was how the guys jumped like 40 inches in the air. It was just amazing.”
Frozena will graduate in May with a degree in mathematics and marketing. — JMM