The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024
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Frazier a Mustang for the right reasons

SMU basketball fans have more than their big-name coach to thank for landing first-year Keith Frazier last spring.

The 6-foot-5-inch shooting guard chose SMU over other top offers not only for their first-class coaching staff, but more importantly, his son – who helped the Mustangs seal the deal on their top recruit.

“I have a son,” Frazier said. “I have family here and I wanted to stay close to family.”

Frazier’s 1-year-old son KJ, short for Keith Junior, was one of the most influential factors in his decision.

With close proximity to family as a top priority, it’s no surprise that SMU was at the top of the Dallas native’s list.

“For him to make a commitment to come here is remarkable with the options he had,” Head Coach Larry Brown told the Dallas Morning News.

Frazier received offers from Texas A&M; University and Texas Tech University before committing to SMU.

Although he put family first, Frazier didn’t ignore the fact that Brown was a significant game changer.

“With Larry Brown being a Hall of Fame coach and him being right in my backyard, I felt like it would be a good spot for me,” Frazier said.

When the Hall of Fame legend joined the Mustang community last year, he brought with him high expectations for the future of SMU basketball.

Visions of winning seasons were in the air and for good reason considering Brown’s track record.

No stranger to success, Brown is the only coach in history to win national championships in both the NCAA (University of Kansas, 1988) and the NBA (Detroit Pistons, 2004).

With that kind of record, SMU fans were in high spirits at the start of 2012 season. Contrary to hopeful predictions, the Mustangs ended the ‘12- ‘13 season 15-17.

With Brown’s success behind him, he made the move to SMU last fall, knowing full well that it was (and still is) a program that has only had one winning season since 2003 and hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 1993. He jumped in confidently, knowing it was going to take more than a year to turn the team around.

With last year’s recruiting class already set prior to Brown’s arrival, he was left with little time to recruit players of his own.

As it turned out, he didn’t have much to worry about. The high-profile coach coming back to the college coaching scene for the first time in 24 years was enough to spark player interest.

For some, it was enough to prompt a transfer to SMU that summer, in time for the 2012 season.

Ranked by Rivals.com as the fourth-best shooting guard, Frazier is definitely someone to keep an eye on this season, especially if his high school career is any indication of what he’s capable of.

The Kimball High School standout averaged 23.2 points per game and shot 42 percent from the arc last year.

High school statistics are one thing, but what can SMU fans realistically expect to see from Frazier this season?

“I hope to see [Frazier] live up to the hype that is surrounding him and become an elite player on both sides of the ball. The team will most likely need him to play a position on the wing where he can have opportunities to score the ball off the dribble and with his perimeter shooting,” said SMU men’s basketball Senior Team Manager, Evan Kavanagh.

A question often asked of high-caliber players like Frazier is if or when they plan on entering the NBA.

“Like everyone else who plays Division I college basketball, he wants to play in the NBA. Whether that can happen after his [first-year] season or ever is really up to him and his performance on and off the floor,” Kavanagh said.

The addition of Brown’s new recruits increasing the team’s scoring capability isn’t the only change fans will see from last year.

“Last season the starting five averaged 32 minutes a game,” Kavanagh said. “Which is extremely high.”

According to KenPom.com, the SMU starters played a higher percentage of minutes than any team in the country last year.

The Mustangs will have more substitution power with their 15-man roster of 2012-13.

Although they’re not quite there yet, with the help of Frazier, the rest of the Mustang roster and prospective recruits, Kavanagh believes the future of SMU basketball looks bright.

“With Emmanuel Mudiay, the number five prospect for the Class of 2014, verbally committed and hopefully more big names to come, SMU will look to improve with new young talent every year from here on out.”

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