Matt Visinsky

No surprise Keith Frazier leaving SMU early

With SMU guard Keith Frazier, every day was an adventure and his time at SMU has ended. Frazier took SMU down in the process. What a circus it became.

The Twitter handle, Keith's Towel, spawned from watching former McDonald's All-American Keith Frazier wave a towel continuously on the bench during SMU basketball games. Fans greeted him to the court with "Keiiiiiitttthhhh" from the start of his career. Frazier was a favorite of students especially - constantly being greeted on campus or getting high-fives. 

Leaving early to go pro was something that Frazier thought about, but he didn't envision leaving SMU this way.

Frazier's SMU career suddenly ended almost two weeks ago when Frazier left the SMU basketball team to deal with personal issues. SMU head coach Larry Brown continued to meet with Frazier and Brown tried to make it work, but Frazier's stay had run its course.

Today, sources told Pony Stampede that Frazier will seek a transfer and could eventually turn pro. The 6-5 guard will have one semester to play in Spring 2017.

Most days were a struggle for Frazier with the basketball program.

Frazier was known to throw tantrums over playing time, fouls, missed shots, and other things. Brown wanted players who shared the ball, defended, and were team players. Frazier had a lot of bad days with that concept. Frazier was also one of the most passionate players and could bring Moody Coliseum to their feet on some nights.

The straw that broke this camel's back was the emergence of SMU freshman guard Shake Milton. After Frazier sat out against Nicholls State and Hampton on back-to-back nights, Milton took his spot as a starter. Frazier was ruled out with a knee injury, but an MRI and X-Rays both came back negative, sources told Pony Stampede.

After Milton began starting, Frazier became disruptive. Fraizer missed meetings and practices, and had a couple tantrums, sources said. 

After showing up days earlier for the Mustangs' road trip to Tulsa, Frazier didn't show up for shootaround or the game against USF. The SMU players didn't welcome Frazier back and wouldn't after Brown attempted to persuade them allow Frazier to return.

Following SMU's win over Tulsa, Frazier had little contact with SMU and it appeared the two were parting ways. Frazier couldn't fit into the team play Brown wanted without him starting. After two and a half years, the team was exhausted by Frazier's behavior and it was over.

Frazier was at the center of the NCAA investigation surrounding academic fraud due to a class a former administrative assistant took for Frazier. The investigation resulted in recruiting restrictions, scholarship sanctions, a nine-game suspension for Brown, and the worst part - an NCAA postseason ban.

Frazier was also ruled academically ineligible in January 2015, but regained eligibility for the start of the 2015-16 season. Frazier leaves SMU academically eligible and on track to graduate. If Frazier was to play on a pro team in the Spring 2016 semester, Frazier would not hurt SMU's APR with his departure. 

Brown and Frazier have said the move is for personal reasons. His mentor, Erven Davis, told's Adam Zagoria that he's "working through personal issues." His high school coach, Royce Johnson, told the Dallas Morning News that Keith felt, "everybody was point pointing their finger at him as the one to blame," for SMU's NCAA sanctions and hit a boiling point.

"They're starting to get the bad Keith out of Keith and putting more of the good Keith inside of Keith," Frazier told Pony Stampede in October 2013 before his freshman season.

The sanctions were tough for Frazier to go through, but there was too much "bad Keith" left after two and a half years to stomach losing his starting spot to a freshman. Milton and other SMU players regularly had to tell Frazier where to go on plays even after two and a half years at SMU. 

SMU never got enough of the "bad Keith" out. That's something that will hurt Brown, who had hopes Frazier would return to the team and be a good teammate. 

The first McDonald's All-American to play for SMU is the product of a tough environment growing up in Oak Cliff, he told Pony Stampede in October 2013. Frazier said he could bring toughness to the program because of that. Instead, he folded mentally at times. 

Frazier's attitude, which he acknolwedged when he came out of Kimball High School, is a product of AAU culture, being "The Man" in high school, and many around him telling him how much playing time and starts he should have gotten. There was progress to change his attitude, but it wasn't enough. 

Once the grind of competition to start and for playing time happened, Frazier couldn't handle being challenged.

Frazier sparred with teammates according to sources when things got bad and the team had enough of his antics. 

Team leadership stood up to Frazier and was a big part in Frazier's departure from SMU after his latest attitude problems.

Frazier's time at SMU was marred in controversy. A school might take a chance on Frazier (and his baggage) like SMU did coming out of high school, but be prepared for everything that comes along with him. 

It'd be an adventure. Just ask the team he left behind at SMU.

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