Grand Canyon University's Oscar Frayer Dies in Car Crash at Age 23

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 26, 2021

Grand Canyon's Oscar Frayer (4) lays up the ball against New Mexico State during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game for the championship of the Western Athletic Conference men's tournament Saturday, March 13, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)
Chase Stevens/Associated Press

Grand Canyon men's basketball guard/forward Oscar Frayer died at the age of 23 following a car crash near Lodi, California, early Tuesday morning.

GCU released a statement (h/t Richard Obert of the Arizona Republic) confirming the crash, which also took the lives of Frayer's older sister, Andrea Moore, and a third individual who has not been identified by the San Joaquin Medical Examiner’s Office.

ESPN's Myron Medcalf provided details of the crash via local authorities:

"According to local authorities, a California Highway Patrol vehicle was struck from behind by the car Frayer was in as two officers were assisting a stranded vehicle on a highway near Lodi, California, around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Frayer's vehicle hit a tree and became engulfed in flames. The officers were transported to a local hospital with 'major injuries,' according to the California Highway Patrol, but both are expected to survive."

GCU head coach Bryce Drew provided remarks on Frayer.

"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."

GCU also released a tribute video in memory of the smiling and energetic Frayer, with one shot showing him cutting down the nets following his team's WAC title win this year:

GCU Men's Basketball @GCU_MBB

Miss you, O. Fly high, High Flyer. https://t.co/rNd47znpsS

Frayer was a defensive star for Grand Canyon, which won the WAC and gave No. 2 Iowa a test in the first round of the NCAA tournament before losing 86-74. The redshirt senior was second on the team with 20 blocks and tied for second with 14 steals. He also averaged 6.6 points per game while starting all 24 of Grand Canyon's contests.

Frayer, who received his degree in communications, sent this tweet after the culmination of GCU's season:

Oscar Proud #⃣4⃣ @Oscar_Frayer

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🤘🏿💜

Many of Frayer's teammates spoke on Twitter and Instagram following the news of his death, with some remembrances below.

"You believed in me in a way that i never believed in myself," sophomore guard Damari Milstead said on Instagram

"This is extremely tough to write. I don’t even know where to start, or how to even form this message. Life is something that is so precious and i took you for granted. I took all of our good times for granted. I took all of our late night drives and convos for granted. You believed in me in a way that i never believed in myself. You looked over me when i was the new kid on the block in high school and in college. Your loyalty was unmatched and never will be replicated.

"You were a hometown hero, defeating the odds and making a name for yourself. We always dreamed about making the tournament and you made that into a reality. I am blessed to be your sidekick for so many years and hope one day we will meet again, so you can brag to me how you made the tournament before me. My brother i will keep your name alive and always represent. Love you 4."

Redshirt senior guard Mikey Dixon added on IG: "I never thought the tournament would have been my last days with you brother. U was rockin with me right or wrong no matter the situation. I'll never forget all them talks we had bro. I just wish u would pick up the phone gang 🖤🖤🖤🖤."

And junior guard Rashad Smith wrote on IG:

"To my brother big O. I appreciate everything that you’ve taught me and thankful for every memory with you. Mann you just graduated and your a champion. Will never forget the talk we had on the plane back to AZ the most real talk we’ve ever had never thought you would go so soon .I will never forget how far you’ve come as a person and to help your brothers with anything and be the big brother that we all needed, forever in our hearts. Fly high brother Love you 💜🤍✊🏽🙏🏽 RIP OF4."

Per Medcalf, GCU will have a "celebration of life" service at GCU Arena on Tuesday to honor Frayer and others in the school community who have died during the 2020-21 academic year.