Mike White's Xtra Points: Butler's Tyler Frederick a success story
March 10, 2017 12:00 AM
Pine-Richland's Andrew Petcash fights for a rebound against Butler's Tyler Frederick in the WPIAL Class 6A championship Saturday at Petersen Events Center.
By Mike White / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When Butler’s Tyler Frederick fouled out of the WPIAL 6A championship Saturday with more than a minute left, he covered his face and broke into tears on the court. He cried as he walked to the bench, realizing that a memorable journey to a title game was about to end in defeat.
A few weeks from now, it will be Frederick’s coach shedding a tear. Not because of defeat, but because Frederick turned out a winner.
“When our team banquet ends, it’s going to be emotional for me to see Tyler go,” said Butler coach Matt Clement. “Not just because of where he came from basketball-wise. But also what he turned into as a person and everything he does for his family. He’s just a very special person.”
There are countless human-interest stories on the high school sports scene that never get told. But Frederick’s is worth telling.
Frederick’s saga is one of a player who was so bad in basketball in junior high that he played on Butler’s “B” team in seventh and eighth grade — and mainly because he was tall and could run. Talent was missing. But by the time he was a senior, Frederick was a 6-foot-5 forward and one of the better players in the WPIAL.
But a big part of Frederick’s success story is off the court. He is one of three adopted children in his family. Joe and Melissa Frederick also have seven other children of their own, enough to make for two starting fives. The youngest of the children are 3-year-old twins. Mom and Dad work a lot, and Tyler often has to take on the role of parent, which he accepts proudly.
“There were days when I worked our practice schedule around Tyler’s because he had to be home and take care of the family,” said Clement.
Frederick feeds his younger siblings, gives them baths.
“Oh, I change diapers, too,” he said with a laugh.
And he feels fortunate.
“Just because I was put into a family that cared about me, took care of me and pushed me to be a better person,” said Frederick, who was adopted two days after he was born. “I’ve been raised to be a man faster.”
And what helped him most with his family life was basketball.
“Honestly, it’s decision-making and leadership. Those are two things basketball taught me,” said Frederick. “I’ve learned how to take care of a team and lead them.”
Frederick plans to play college basketball and some Division II schools are recruiting him. But first there is the PIAA tournament to worry about. Butler plays Canon-McMillan in a first-round game Saturday. Frederick takes a 16-point average into the game. But no matter the fortunes of Butler in the PIAA playoffs, Frederick has already made a successful run.
“Success isn’t always averaging 30 a game,” said Clement. “Success is how much better you have gotten as a player, and as a person.”