Notebook: Frazier unfazed by shooting slump
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 9:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 9:44 p.m.
ARLINGTON, Texas — Michael Frazier II insists he hasn't hit the freshman wall.
Who: No. 3 seed Florida Gators (28-7) vs. No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (26-10)
When: 10:07 p.m.
Where: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Gainesville-area TV: TBS
Gainesville-area radio: 103.7 FM
The smooth-shooting, first-year Florida guard will look to regain his lost stroke tonight when the Gators face Florida Gulf Coast University tonight in the Sweet 16.
The 6-foot-4 Frazier emerged as a pleasant surprise for the Gators this season due to his ability to score from the perimeter. But Frazier went a combined 0 of 5 from 3-point range in his first two career NCAA Tournament games. One of his 3-point attempts hit the side of the backboard, a rarity considering Frazier is still shooting 46.3 percent (50 of 108) from the beyond the arc this season.
“As a shooter, you're going to have off games and unfortunately, I haven't been on these last couple of games,” Frazier said. “But we've been winning.”
Since sitting out a game Feb. 23 at Tennessee following a concussion, Frazier is shooting just 33 percent (8 of 24) from 3-point range. But Frazier said he hasn't felt the fatigue that freshmen sometimes go through late in their first seasons.
“I just really have tried to push through everything, persevere through everything that's been thrown at me,” Frazier said. “Just trying to get better, even this late in the year.”
Frazier said he's put up some extra shots this week during Florida's workouts at Southern Methodist University. The Gators stayed in Texas for the week after advancing in last weekend's regional in Austin.
“My coaches and teammates, they keep telling me to stay confident and shoot when I'm open,” Frazier said. “That's what I'm going to continue to do.”
Florida has a surprise guest during its open pregame shootaround Thursday. Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski, in uniform, showed up to watch the Gators go through the motions at Cowboys Stadium.
Pierzynski, who went to high school at Dr. Phillips in Orlando, grew up a big Gator fan. Though he signed with the Minnesota Twins out of high school, Pierzynski has kept a strong allegiance to his favorite boyhood college team, showing up to Florida football and basketball games during his offseason.
Asked about this season's Gator basketball team, Pierzynski said: “I think they have a shot to win it all. I like the way they're playing defense this season.”
Pierzynski said he won't be able to attend the Florida-FGCU game because the Rangers have an exhibition game Friday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, against the San Diego Padres.
During the shootaround, Florida looked OK putting the ball in the basket while adjusting to the sightlines of the cavernous football stadium. Senior Kenny Boynton, in particular, made a high percentage of his open shots.
Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield may have gotten a little carried away during Thursday's pregame press conference.
When asked about the Florida program, Enfield gushed about the character of UF's players, saying he recruited many of them when he was an assistant at Florida State from 2006-11.
Then, in promoting the Sweet 16 showdown between in-state teams, Enfield said: “It's very ironic that we're playing Florida in the Sweet 16. I blame this on the Selection Committee. This should be a Final Four game, not a Sweet 16 game.”
No team has ever reached a Final Four with a seed lower than 11. Three 11th-seed teams (LSU in 1986, George Mason in 2006 and VCU in 2011) have made Final Four runs, with none advancing to the title game. Ironically, George Mason (coached by current Miami coach Jim Larranaga) was knocked off by eventual national champion Florida.
Pep rally fallout
Apparently, playing in a Sweet 16 game is enough motivation for the Gators. Florida players say they were made aware of Florida Gulf Coast's expletive chant toward the Gators during Monday's pep rally. Florida Gulf Coast offered a formal apology, which Florida accepted Wednesday.
“I don't care,” Florida junior center Patric Young said. “I don't worry about that. They can say all this stuff, but when it comes down to it, I just hope both teams come with our heads on straight ready to play for 40 minutes. It's gonna be a battle.”
Added Florida junior forward Casey Prather: “People told me about it, but we don't really get caught up in that, wrapped up in that. They do what they have to do to get ready, we do what we have to do to get ready.”
Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.