Tulane Men’s Basketball Preseason Notebook: Frazier taking flight

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Melvin Frazier

NEW ORLEANS – Junior guard Melvin Frazier is one of six Tulane men’s basketball players from New Orleans and his progression through two full season with the Green Wave is undeniable. His length and pure athleticism generates highlight reel dunks and makes him one of the top on-ball defenders in the American Athletic Conference.

The incredible part is he’s still getting better, and second-year head coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr., thinks he’s made perhaps the greatest leap on Tulane’s roster.

“I think Melvin is our most improved player,” Dunleavy said. “When I came in here last year, I used to give him a hard time about using his left hand, driving and scoring around the basket. This year, he’s been able to attack and do all of those things. His form is improved and his percentages are better than what they were.”

Frazier started all 30 games in which he appeared as a sophomore, missing just one with a back injury. He led The American in steals per game (1.9) and ranked second on the team in scoring (11.5), field goals made (117) and field goal percentage (.438). He’s certain he can improve on those numbers in 2017-18.

“Coach (Dunleavy) told me he wanted me to improve my free throw shooting, jump shots, 3-pointers and pick-and-rolls,” Frazier said. “I’ve been in the gym working hard. I think I’m 70 percent better. I’m ready to run. I think I’m in great shape. That’s what he wants me to do, and I’ll do whatever he needs me to do.”

The one thing Frazier doesn’t want to change is his prowess for creating turnovers. Despite the improvement in other areas, the steals crown is his and he wants it to stay that way.

“I want to lead the conference in steals again,” Frazier said. “As the years go by, the game slows down for me. I really like on-ball defense, but I play help defense, too. I want to help others be better on defense.”

The American Athletic Conference currently does not honor an all-defensive team each year, but if it did, you can be certain Frazier would be a leading vote-getter. However, teammate Cameron Reynolds was voted the league’s most improved as a junior last season, but perhaps Frazier is now on course to be the next recipient of that honor.

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