Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Plant High star Michael Frazier returns with Florida Gators basketball team

The simple thing for Michael Frazier would have been to stay the course, but those who know him best say that's just not his nature.

When Frazier left Plant High in 2011 after his junior season, he had 1,902 career points. He needed 98 to become just the 13th player in Hillsborough County history to reach 2,000, and 638 (about 25.5 per game) to break the county record held by Russell Evans (Plant City 1988-91). Frazier averaged 29.7 points as a junior, so the record was within reach.

Instead the Tampa native chose to think big picture, opting to transfer to Montverde Academy near Orlando for his senior season to hone his game and compete among players as talented or more than himself.

"I don't think it was hard to walk away because I wanted to win and get better as a player, and I felt like making that move to Montverde would get me ready for the next step, which was going to college at the time, and it would make me a better player," Frazier said.

He returns to Tampa today, when the Gators play Middle Tennessee State at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, eager to play in front of family and friends.

"I'm definitely excited to go back home and see my family, and have my family see me play, have the opportunity," Frazier said. "It's exciting."

Frazier (6 feet 4, 200 pounds) has played 39 minutes in two games this season, averaging 5.5 points. Against No. 22 Wisconsin last week, Frazier had eight points and five rebounds.

With injuries and the three-game suspension of guard Scottie Wilbekin, Frazier has spent more time at the three position, adapting well. Coach Billy Donovan said there are three key factors that help him decide if a freshman can step in quickly: understanding how competitive the collegiate game is, being physically able to play at that level, and understanding the system.

"I think Michael's proven that he can (physically compete), with the way he rebounds the basketball," Donovan said. "There's areas where he's got to get better, but Michael's not afraid of putting his body in play. Then the third thing is, do you know what we're doing? And I think Michael's picked it up, because he's been at the two, it's a little bit easier adjustment going from the two to the three. … I think Michael's got a level of toughness, he's got a level of competitiveness, he's not afraid to put his body in place. And I think he's always had confidence in what he does well."

Frazier said his only expectation coming in was to work as hard as he could, then see where that got him.

His teammates say, so far, he's doing just that.

"He's just been stepping up," senior guard Mike Rosario said. "Anything coach asks him to do, and that's with all the young guys, they've come in with the same mind-set of working hard and being focused. But particularly with Mike, he knows that he plays a big part because he can shoot the ball. He's versatile, he's 6-4, and we need him, especially on the backboard."

"He's played well," added senior forward Erik Murphy. "Mike is a tough kid, he comes in and tries to do what is asked of him. He tries to do all the right things, he plays the right way and he obviously knocks down shots, and that's a big thing."

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

Former Plant High star Michael Frazier returns with Florida Gators basketball team 11/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 17, 2012 10:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump: Objection to NFL protests 'has nothing to do with race'

    National

    MORRISTOWN, New Jersey — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his opposition to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality "has nothing to do with race" but …

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters upon his return to the White House in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Trump insisted Sunday that his opposition to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality "has nothing to do with race" but has to do with "respect for our country and respect for our flag." [Associated PRss]
  2. World War II vet, 97, takes a knee in support of anthem protests

    Human Interest

    SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — On a day when NFL teams grabbed the nation's attention by coordinating demonstrations during the national anthem, a 97-year-old World War II veteran went viral with a solitary show of support for the protests.

    Brennan Gilmore posted a Twitter picture Sunday morning of his grandfather, John Middlemas, kneeling while wearing a veteran's cap. [Twitter]
  3. NFL Week 3: What we learned

    Bucs

    Take the knee … well, not NOW

     1. Photo of Roger Mooney for Times Sports.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Chris Archer's primary problem Sunday, as in much of September, was a lack of slider command. When he can't throw it where he wants, and doesn't have the confidence in the changeup to throw it often, he can't win with just his fastball.

  5. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.