Florida junior guard Michael Frazier is getting plenty of national attention heading into the 2014-15 season.
The 6-foot-4 guard from Tampa was named preseason All-SEC first team by Blue Ribbon Magazine earlier this week and also earned preseason All-SEC first team honors from both Athlon and Sporting News magazine. In his Top 25 preview, respected Sporting News college basketball writer Mike DeCourcy wrote Frazier “might be college basketball’s best pure shooter.”
Frazier shot an SEC-best 44.7 percent from 3-pooint range last season and is the lone starter returning from UF’s 2013-14 Final Four team. His 37 points against South Carolina last March 4 was the most for a Gator player since Joakim Noah scored 37 points for the Gators on March 1, 2006 against Georgia.
Frazier comes into his junior season with 704 career points, and barring something unforeseen, should crack the 1,000-point barrier this season. But a key this season will be his continued growth and development to find ways to score when his long-range shots aren’t falling. Frazier made 40 two-point baskets as a sophomore, up from 10 in his freshman season. He also made more trips to the free-throw line as a sophomore (57) compared to his freshman year (31).
During the summer, former Florida standout guard Teddy Dupay worked with Frazier to expand his offensive game. In addition, Frazier spent extensive time with assistant coach Rashon Burno during his sophomore season working on shot-fakes and drives to the basket.
If Frazier can continue to expand his game, he could take the next step to become a more dangerous offensive threat in college basketball.
— Florida coach Billy Donovan will be wired for sound during practice during ESPNU’s Midnight Madness coverage from 6-7 p.m. on Oct. 17. The Gators haven’t held a Midnight Madness open practice on campus since 2006, but it should give fans insight into Donovan’s workouts that are closed to the general public.
— The Florida-Miami game on Nov. 17 (7 p.m., ESPNU) at the O’Connell Center will be part of ESPN’s 24 hours of college basketball marathon. The Gators have been part of the marathon coverage since 2010-11 season, with two matchups against Ohio State, two against Wisconsin and now Miami. The Hurricanes will enter the game with just nine scholarship players due to an NCAA eligibility suspension involving forward Ivan Cruz Uceda and a leg injury to sophomore guard Davon Reed.
— Former Gator forward Erik Murphy is coming home. The 6-foot-10 forward was traded to the Boston Celtics last week in part of a four-team deal that involved former Kentucky guard Keith Bogans. Murphy grew up in South Kingstown, R.I., about a 45-minute drive from Boston, and rooted for the Celtics as a kid. ““It was unexpected and kind of came out of nowhere but it was definitely a cool feeling to come back home to New England,” Murphy told the Providence Journal. Murphy has been with four organizations in the last six months (Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics) after playing sparingly as a rookie in both Chicago and Utah. He’ll need to win a job in training camp, but has a good chance considering second-year coach Brad Stevens is employing a youth movement to help rebuild the Celtics. “You want to find a role and a niche somewhere and be able to settle down,” Murphy told the Journal. “I’m hoping it can be here.” Murphy’s younger brother Alex, a 6-foot-8 transfer forward from Duke, will be eligible to play for the Gators in mid-December and should help add depth to UF’s frontcourt.