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January 27, 2014
Notebook: Frazier named SEC Player of the Week
There are few things more aesthetically pleasing about a Florida basketball game than a well-timed Michael Frazier II 3-point jump shot. Mechanically, Billy Donovan has called Frazier's seemingly effortless stroke one of the prettiest he has ever coached.
Donovan has compared Frazier to Lee Humphrey and Matt Bonner, some of the best pure shooters he has been around. It all comes from an abnormal amount of repetition.
The son of a minister, Frazier regularly went to the gym two or three times every day with his father to work on his shot growing up. The days of practice helped Frazier become a four-star prospect and an eventual Florida signee. The work load hasn't changed.
Frazier is regularly in the practice facility or the O'Connell Center before his teammates have arrived and after they have left.
"Usually I try and get roughly 300 makes after shootaround," Frazier said of his game day routine. "And then before the game, I might make 100 or so. So on typical game day, 350, 400 shots I try to make just so that I have a good rhythm going into the game."
Frazier has earned a permanent green light from Donovan on open - and sometimes not-so-open - 3-point attempts, which is why it was so surprising when Frazier went 0 for 2 and scored zero points against Auburn on Jan. 18.
The sophomore guard pointed to a lack of mental focus and inability to put bad plays behind him, something on which he said he continues to work. Frazier made up for it in the two following games.
Against Alabama and Tennessee, Frazier shot 8 of 19 from beyond the arc and scored a combined 35 points. Monday, he was named SEC Player of the Week.
"It's a great honor," Frazier said. "But it just shows that hard work pays off. Continue to strive to get better each and every day. Continue to focus on the team."
-- PICKING UP STEAM --
That radar the Gators had been flying under might be starting to pick them up. Florida is No. 3 in the latest edition of the AP Poll as it is now on an 11-game winning streak dating back to Dec. 10. The Gators (17-2, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) jumped ahead of Wichita State, which is undefeated.
Donovan, who has preached "desperation" and urgency to his team admitted that he is uncertain of how his players will respond to the sudden hype even though the Gators start four seniors.
"Obviously, as a coach you always want to go into every game on edge and understanding that in any competitive situation anything can happen," Donovan said. "Hopefully our guys will respond to that."
-- TWO BITS --
Donovan on the idea that Damontre Harris could play for the Gators this season if needed: "It would completely de-value what our core values are here in terms of what we are trying to do each and every day. He had every opportunity back in November to do those things and he elected not to. Obviously we parted ways, he was going to move on and obviously we reached out. We have too many guys like Patric Young and Will Yeguete and Casey Prather and those guys who have been committed for years, really working and doing the right things. And for us to all the sudden inject him back in there because he may be able to help our team, we've done fine without him. He'll have to work to get better and improve, but no we're not going to play him this year."
Donovan on Chris Walker: "My biggest fear for Chris is you have a highly explosive player and sometimes when the guy's not playing, the legend of Chris Walker grows greater than who he really actually is, you know. It's the same thing with (Dorian Finney-Smith) last year. He's sitting out, and everyone's talking about this guy like he's Magic Johnson. Chris Walker now, it's like, my God, this guy is going to end up being Kevin Garnett. I mean, he's not that. And I think if anybody, whenever he gets able to play, if that's your expectation of Chris Walker, then you're going to be very disappointed because he's not that."