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DALLAS (AP) — SMU junior guard Keith Frazier, the former Dallas high school star whose name was prominent in an NCAA investigation that led to a postseason ban for the undefeated Mustangs, has decided to transfer.
Coach Larry Brown said Friday that the 2013 McDonald's All-American "wanted a fresh start" after taking time away from the program to consider his future.
The 10th-ranked Mustangs (16-0) are the only remaining undefeated Division I team, more than halfway through a schedule that can't go beyond the regular season. SMU will miss the NCAA Tournament a year after making its first appearance since 1993.
Frazier's online course work before he enrolled at SMU was part of an NCAA investigation that led to sanctions last fall, including Brown's nine-game suspension to start the season.
"He told me he wanted a fresh start, and since Day One since he got here, I told him that we'll always be there to support him," Brown said about Frazier, who missed the past four games. "He's always going to be a part of our family, and whatever is best for him is best for us."
Frazier has two options at a new school. He can play part of next season after skipping the fall semester, or he can sit out a year and play the entire 2017-18 season.
Frazier averaged 11.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in the 10 games this season. He averaged 10.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in 17 games last season before being declared academically ineligible after the winter break.
Brown said Frazier was eligible when he decided to take time away from the team.
While the coach never offered details on Frazier's hiatus, former Kimball High School coach Royce Johnson told The Dallas Morning News that Frazier was struggling emotionally with issues regarding the NCAA sanctions against SMU.
"I'm always going to be close to him," Brown said. "I'm never going to stop supporting him. I hope that's the way we are with all our kids. It's never an easy thing for anybody."
The Mustangs visit Tulane on Sunday before returning home to face Houston on Tuesday.
"We're moving on," Brown said. "I've got a bunch of kids in that room that I think we've got to focus our attention to and hopefully this turns out great for Keith."
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