This is what 13-0 feels like?
It simply doesn’t feel as good as one would imagine.
Maybe it’s because the latest win had to be scrapped out against a three-win team.
Maybe it’s the post-season ban has blanketed this season and all its accomplishments with a staggering lack of meaning.
Perhaps it’s because in all likelihood the impossible dream of an undefeated season could be slowly falling apart despite every win the Mustangs pull out.
It could be all those things, but one thing in particular sours this season more than any other.
I heard something the other day that made fun of the guys that spend all their money on nice clothes and don’t have enough left over for a car, let alone to buy their own food when hanging out with their friends.
Keith Frazier is nice, new clothes.
As many people noticed Saturday against USF, Frazier was noticeably absent. Larry Brown said, the junior guard was dealing with some personal issues and was instructed to spend time with his family.
Scout.com subscribers have been speculating about the reason for his absence since a couple hours before the USF tipoff.
The belief right now, is that the issue lies between Frazier and the coaches regarding his playing time and position on the depth chart.
The emergence of Shake Milton into the starting five over him cannot possibly sit well with Frazier.
He’s used to being the best and expects to be anytime he steps onto the court.
Now with SMU, there is no argument that Nic Moore followed by Markus Kennedy are SMU’s best players.
I can see that being okay with him since they are each older—they should be ahead of him, they have more years in the game.
He’s just a freshman. He shouldn’t be better than Frazier, right?
When SMU faced Tulsa a couple games back, Milton dropped 24 points.
In three years, Frazier has never scored 24 points. He’s scored 23 points…twice…but each of those games came this season, during his junior year.
Frazier has allegedly been dealing with a lingering knee injury this season and his absences gave Milton opportunities to shine.
Credit must be given to Milton. The former Owasso, Okla. star is performing well above what should be expected of a freshman.
I mean during Frazier’s freshman season he averaged 5.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 14.8 minutes per game he played.
Meanwhile Milton’s freshman year is producing 11.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists on 29.3 minutes per game.
More minutes and bigger numbers.
Still, in the 10 games he has played in, Frazier is averaging just 30 seconds of playing time less than Milton and each has started seven games apiece (remember that Milton started a game at point when Nic Moore was hurt).
So if Frazier feels that Milton is being given an unfair advantage over him in terms of starts or playing time, it is unfounded.
The freshman has earned the spot while the junior seems to have expected it to be handed to him.
Simply looking over the numbers, and the different personalities in play, it seems that Frazier is intimidated and/or jealous of the progress Milton has made in 13 games.
So he’s sitting out and there is no telling if he’ll ever be back at SMU.
Now Larry Brown said he doesn’t know if he’ll be back and if he knew he would have said something a little more reassuring so it wouldn’t be made into a big deal.
Our publisher, Billy Embody has been guiding us through this since Saturday and his sources are pointing towards the likelihood of Frazier not returning.
First let’s just address the fact that turning your back on the team like this over any kind of team-related issues would be incredibly crappy.
If, in fact, this really is something of a very personal matter and has nothing to do with playing time, I will eat my words.
But unless there is something incredibly serious going on, this is a very crappy thing for him to be doing.
Frazier has been much more trouble than he has been worth and it seemed he was finally turning into the player we expected him to be.
From the minute he arrived, we’ve been constantly worried about his grades and Brett Shipp never let us forget about his high school grades.
Three years ago Larry Brown went out and got Frazier to come to SMU—the first McDonald's All-American to come to the Hilltop. Everyone loved it and all kinds of players were looking at coming to SMU because of it.
Fast forward through three years of Frazier related headaches, stress, and anxiety and SMU gets slapped with a boatload of NCAA sanctions, including the post-season ban.
All because of Keith Frazier.
So Brown can’t take what is arguably, the best SMU team he has had since his hiring, to the NCAA tournament— but at least SMU had that McDonald's All-American.
And SMU will also lose nine scholarships over the next three seasons—but at least we had that McDonald's All-American.
Keith Frazier is nice, new clothes.
But now he probably won’t even finish the season.
Sure, maybe it’s a little unfair to blame him so heavy handedly for all of SMU’s woes. For one, I don’t know how the idea to have a secretary do his work came about.
However, I do know that if it was believed he could do his work on his own, it never would have happened.
He was a calculated risk that hasn’t paid off and boy, has it not paid off.
It’s like you spent all your money on these clothes only to find out they were moth infested like Morty Seinfeld’s rain coats.
Now all your clothes, not just the ones you just bought have holes in them and you look like a hobo trying to bum your way to an undefeated season without enough players to win the games—but at least SMU had that McDonald's All-American.