A dismal 16-17 season left Gator basketball fans with nothing but hope for the future. Now, that hope is becoming less realistic and more blind.
Florida shooting guard Michael Frazier will skip his senior year at Florida and declare for the NBA Draft, according to multiple sources, including one close to In All Kinds Of Weather. Frazier held Gator records for most three pointers in a season (118) and most three pointers in a game (11). I’m upset at what this does to the Gators’ team, but Frazier did a lot for Gator basketball, and it’s his decision. And of course, I wish him nothing but the best of luck in his future endeavors.
But looking at this objectively, it doesn’t make any sense. Frazier is coming off of his worst year as a Gator in pretty much every phase of the game. His freshman and sophomore years were outstanding, and if he really wanted to sign an NBA contract, he should have declared after his sophomore year. I love Frazier, I really do, but he was simply not himself last year (not that anyone was, really) and thus severely damaged his draft stock. His outside shooting fell off (38% from three as opposed to 47% and 45% his first two seasons, respectively) and he displayed a general lack of confidence in his shot that seemed to epitomize Florida’s offensive struggles.
I project Frazier to go somewhere in the middle of the second round because of the upside he brings. Someone’s going to watch his highlights from his first two years, see what he’s capable of, think they can get him back to that level of effectiveness and take a chance on him. He was simply too good his freshman and sophomore years to let a bad junior season drop him out of the draft completely.
As for the Gators, well, this doesn’t exactly help. Regardless of Frazier’s off year, he was still the best player Florida had. And given what he did his first two years, plus the fact that Billy Donovan is his coach, the thought that he could have a bounce back senior year was not exactly a reach. But now this won’t happen, and now Florida’s going to be even more inexperienced than it was last year, unless you want to consider sophomores Devin Robinson and Chris Chiozza and junior Chris Walker “experienced”. I’d love to be wrong, but Frazier’s departure gives me the sickening feeling that it’s going to be at least another couple years before Florida becomes a serious title contender again. Then again, Billy Donovan has worked miracles before.
So, good luck, Mike. I’ll miss tweeting things like “MF II IV A MF III” and I’ll miss watching you do things that inspire me to tweet such things. I can’t say I agree with your decision, both as a Gator fan and as a realist. But nonetheless, you were overall a great Gator, and I’m rooting for you going forward.