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Plant's Frazier transferring to Montverde (updated 2:36 p.m.)

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Mon. July 18, 2011 | Joey Knight | Email

Plant's Frazier transferring to Montverde (updated 2:36 p.m.)

Russell Evans' all-time Hillsborough County boys basketball scoring record is safe.

The player who seemed poised to break it -- Plant two-guard Michael Frazier -- won't attempt to eclipse it. In an exclusive interview with The Times, Frazier, a University of Florida commitment, said Monday he's transferring to Montverde Academy in Lake County for his senior season.

The county's top scorer each of the past two seasons, Frazier informed new Panthers coach Mike Slonaker of his decision Monday. He'll live on the Montverde campus.

"Montverde is going to give me a chance to get ready and prepare for the University of Florida academically," Frazier, flanked by his dad and a younger brother, said Monday from the booth of a South Tampa cafe. "It's going to give me a college-like setting."

Frazier, who has spent all summer competing nationally on the travel-ball circuit, insisted his move has nothing to do with Plant's dismissal of longtime coach Mike Phillips earlier this year. Phillips, accused of having improper contact with the parent of a prospective Plant student-athlete, was replaced by Slonaker.

"I had a couple of other opportunities to go outside the state. It had nothing to do with Coach Phillips or Plant or (Slonaker)," he said. "It was solely based on my family and what's best for the family and me, what was the best opportunity for me."

Frazier, who totaled 832 points for Plant as a junior, needed 639 to break the county's career mark (2,540) set by Evans at Plant City 20 years ago. He'll give up that quest to join a program that finished 33rd in the final ESPN Rise/Powerade national rankings last season.

"(The scoring record) never has been a concern for me," Frazier said. "I think it's great to be mentioned with the top guys in Hillsborough County scoring-wise, but my whole goal ever since I've been at Plant was to win a state championship. Points never really mattered."

A college preparatory school located on 125 rural acres just outside Clermont, Montverde plays a national schedule. It's not affiliated with the FHSAA and can't compete for a state title.

Frazier's dad, also named Michael, said his family's recent move to Clearwater necessitated a change. He acknowledged the oldest of his six kids will receive financial aid to attend Montverde.

"I wanted him to be prepared for that college setting next year," said the elder Frazier, a pastor. "After we looked at all the possibilities that were out there...Montverde sort of fit the mold." 

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