Sunday, June 17, 2018
Sports

Gators' Frazier gets shot with USA Basketball

GAINESVILLE — When guard Michael Frazier II received word that a Florida assistant coach wanted to see him one recent afternoon, he had no idea what it was about.

He arrived at the basketball offices and was handed an envelope. Still, no clue.

When he opened it, he was hit with the surprise of a lifetime. Frazier was one of 24 players invited to USA Basketball's training camp for the 2013 under-19 world championship.

"I had no idea. I didn't even know how they did the selection for training camp," Frazier said. "But I'm so happy to be a part of it now. You're getting an opportunity to play for your country. And any time you have an opportunity to play for your country, you're very proud and honored. I've always wanted to be a part of that."

The former Plant and Montverde High star will attend the training camp Friday-June 19 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Finalists for the team will be announced Sunday with the 12-man roster set thereafter.

"I'm going to just work as hard as I can and display what I have to bring to the table," Frazier said.

The team will be coached for the second straight season by Florida's Billy Donovan, who said the experience will help Frazier.

"I think Mike, obviously, for a freshman had a good year for us," Donovan said. "I think having a chance to try out against a bunch of guys his age that are high-level players and, for the most part, have had a year of college under their belt, I think to be in that competitive environment for a few days (helps)."

Frazier was the only member of the Gators' 2012 recruiting class to see significant playing time last season. He was named to the SEC all-freshman team after averaging 5.6 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 46.8 percent on 3-pointers in 36 games with one start (18 minutes per game).

Frazier said he wasn't surprised by his success particularly because his training at Montverde, including living away from home, prepared him for what to expect in college.

"My mentality was to outwork anybody, stay in the gym, don't take any days off and whatever happens, happens," Frazier said.

"And fortunately, I was able to contribute the way I did to the team. Now I just want to stay in the gym and stay humble."

The under-19 world tournament is June 27-July 7 in Prague, Czech Republic. Donovan said he won't put extra pressure on Frazier nor afford him special treatment during the tryout.

No matter what happens, Donovan said, Frazier will be better next season because of it.

"If he is fortunate enough to make it, there will be a transition period that will probably be a little bit minimal for him because what we'll end up doing is probably introducing some things we do at Florida," Donovan said.

"But I think getting that quality time with him in the summer, and talking to him about it, just seeing him play against that level of competition on his own and where he needs to get better, regardless of whether he makes the team or not, will be beneficial for him this summer."

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected] Read her blog at tampabay.com/blogs/gators. Follow her on Twitter at @TBTimes_Gators.

. Fast facts

Florida suspends starting point guard

GAINESVILLE — Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin was suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules, coach Billy Donovan said Monday.

This is Wilbekin's second suspension over the past eight months. He missed the first three games of last season, including Nov. 8 against Georgetown on the USS Bataan near Jacksonville, for an undisclosed violation.

A native of Gainesville, he averaged 9.1 points and five assists as a junior last season. His suspension includes activities and workouts at the practice facility.

Wilbekin, 6 feet 2, has seen significant playing time during his three seasons with the Gators, including starting 29 of 35 games last season. He was expected to be a vital part of the rotation in 2013-14. His absence means even greater expectations for incoming freshman Kasey Hill, the nation's 10th-best recruit, according to ESPN.com.

Antonya English, Times staff writer

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