UF hoops looks for more from young Frazier
Published: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.
Florida freshman guard Michael Frazier didn’t have lofty expectations heading into his first season of college basketball.
Who: No. 10 Florida Gators (2-0) vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (2-0)
When: 4 p.m.
Where: Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa
Gainesville TV:Sun Sports
Gainesville radio: AM-850, 103.7 FM
“Coming in, I just wanted to work hard and work for whatever I got,” Frazier said.
Frazier has made the most of his opportunities early in his UF basketball career. The Gators will be looking for Frazier to make more contributions off the bench today when the Gators face Middle Tennessee State at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa.
The game will be a homecoming of sorts for Frazier, who has lived in Tampa the past five years. He’s set aside 12 tickets for family and friends and is expecting many more of his former classmates from Plant High to show up.
“Definitely excited to go back home, see my family, have the opportunity to see me play,” Frazier said.
Frazier showed flashes of his long-range shooting accuracy, scoring 21 points on 6 of 6 shooting from 3-point range in UF’s exhibition win over Nebraska-Kearney. But what has stood out since is the 6-foot-4 Frazier’s physicality on the boards. Frazier was held scoreless in his first regular-season game against Alabama State, but had 6 rebounds. In 19 minutes off the bench against Wisconsin, Frazier had 8 points and 5 rebounds.
That rebounding ability has allowed Frazier to carve a niche off the bench. Florida coach Billy Donovan said he has no problems subbing Will Yeguete for Frazier and going with a three-guard lineup.
“I was very concerned with the loss of (Bradley) Beal going into the year, (Chandler) Parsons the year before, we’ve rebounded pretty well from that small forward spot,” Donovan said. “So when we take Yeguete off the floor and Michael moves into the three he’s done a pretty good job on the backboard for us, going in there, rebounding.
“I think he’s got to get better defensively guarding the basketball and just understanding rotations, which all freshmen go through but I think he’s clearly a guy when he’s on the floor is able to stretch the defense for us the way he shoots.”
Frazier has filled out as well, adding about 10-to-15 pounds of muscle since committing to UF in October of 2010. He’s now a thick 200 pounds.
“Getting stronger is a big part of it but I think rebounding is all about wanting to go get the ball, you have to want to rebound,” Frazier said. “You have to desire the ball to go get it. Coach always talks about playing with a competitive fire and just wanting to play hard every play and finish every possession with a rebound.”
Another move helped Frazier develop into a more complete player, but it meant leaving some friends behind. Frazier could have been Tampa’s all-time leading scorer had he stayed at Plant High for all four years. But as a high school senior, Frazier opted to transfer to Montverde Academy in Clermont.
There, Frazier learned under Montverde Academy coach Kevin Boyle. In 2011, Boyle arrived at Montverde after spending 20 years as a head coach at St. Patrick’s High in Elizabeth, N.J. During that span, Boyle coached several future NBA players, including Samuel Dalembert, Al Harrington, Kyrie Irving and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
“I don’t think it was hard to walk away from because I wanted to win and get better as a player,” Frazier said. “And I felt like making that move to Montverde would get me ready for that next step.”
At Montverde, Frazier practiced each day against future Division I players, including recent 2013 Florida point guard signee Kasey Hill.
“That helped me a lot, just getting used to other good players, having them on the court with me at the same time,” Frazier said.
Notes: Florida is coming off a 74-56 win over No. 22 Wisconsin, UF’s 57th win over a ranked opponent under current head coach Billy Donovan. … Erik Murphy went 10-for-10 from the floor, matching a career high with 24 points against the Badgers. Murphy became just the fourth Gator to have a perfect game from the floor in 10 or more attempts, joining David Lee (12-for-12 vs. Northeastern, 2003), Joakim Noah (10-for-10 vs. Savannah State, 2006) and Randall Leath (10-for-10 vs. Biscayne, 1981) … Senior guard Kenny Boynton (1,621 points) is 3 points shy of tying the late Dwayne Schintzius for sixth on UF’s all-time scoring list. Boynton also posted his 13th career 4-point play against Wisconsin, sinking a 3-pointer as he was fouled by Wisconsin point guard George Marshall. … Florida is off to a strong start defensively, holding teams to 45.5 points per game and 28.7 percent shooting from the floor. ….Middle Tennessee State returns four starters from a team that finished 27-7 and won the Sun Belt Conference regular season title. MTSU assistant Monte Towe was a former assistant at UF from 1980-89 … Florida is 7-3 all-time in games played at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Gators beat Wright State 78-65 at the TB Times Forum last season.
FLORIDA PROBABLE STARTERS
G Kenny Boynton 6-2 Sr. 16.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg
G Mike Rosario 6-3 Sr. 14.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg
F Will Yeguete 6-7 Jr. 6.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg
F Erik Murphy 6-10 Sr. 19.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg
C Patric Young 6-9 Jr. 10.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg
MIDDLE TENN ST PROBABLE STARTERS
G James Gallman 5-11 Sr. 8.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg
G Bruce Massey 6-3 Sr. 6.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg
G Kerry Hammonds 6-5 Jr. 4.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
F Neiko Hunter 6-7 Jr. 7.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg
F Shawn Jones 6-8 Jr. 5.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg
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