It’s no secret the EYBL showcases some of the nation’s top young basketball talent throughout its regular season and Peach Jam. The competition presents a platform in which these incredible athletes come together from around the U.S. and Canada to duke it out; shedding blood, sweat and tears in the process of determining who the king of the mountain is. There’s no doubt these games can test one’s nerves, as a player can see their stock rise or fall in the sometimes-intimidating spotlight such a battlefield can present.
While the event may be a struggle for some, facing off with other such equal or superior talent can see one’s game and confidence improve immensely. In the case of Wings Elite swingman Melvin Frazier, the latter appears to have taken over as the young man from Marrero, Louisiana has become one of the team’s most important contributors.
In 2013, Frazier stood at 6’4” and weighed in at 185 pounds while playing for the Wings Elite 16U team. Over the course of a year, Frazier grew three inches and added 20 pounds, as his position shifted from a SG/SF combo to SF/PF. The jump in competition from the 16U league to the EYBL is one that the four-star wing has embraced:
“It’s been a big jump ‘cause it’s a whole different level and style of play; it’s much tougher and more intense. [The previous experience] helped me a lot ‘cause it gave me a challenge and a chance to experience the competition I have to go up against every time I get on the floor! Everyone around you has special talent just as well as you do, but at the end of the day it’s gonna go to who works hard enough for it.”
There’s no doubt Frazier has been putting in his time. While the scouting report on ESPN compliments Frazier on most aspects of his game, it also suggests that he could use some work on his jumper and ball handling. Without mentioning said scouting report to Frazier, those were the exact two things he said he’s been working on. As he put it: “I spend about three hours in the gym working on my jumper and ball handling! I’m really focusing on my jumper right now, and it has improved very well.”
Frazier has clearly taken the criticism to heart as his coaches have been working with him on ball handling drills for much of his time spent in the gym. His coaches have also helped him improve his post game as his increased length and size have provided an opportunity for him to apply his lockdown defense to some of his opponent’s big men. That’s not to say Frazier has an inclination to play the four more often, however: “I prefer to play the three ‘cause I like to create and get to the goal.”
Attacking the rim is a desirable part of his game, something that is evident if you see Frazier play in person or view the highlight mixtape of him, provided by our good friends at Courtside Films. Frazier is an especially dangerous weapon in transition, as he uses impressive athleticism and length to often leave two words in a spectator’s mind: dunk sauce.
While many of us who casually play basketball are satisfied with an opportunity for a high-percentage layup, Frazier has something else in mind when he approaches the rim: “I like the 360-windmill or in-between the legs, that’s my two specialties.” Specialties, as in, he excels at accomplishing those dunks. What most of the world needs a trampoline to do, Frazier achieves in his sleep.
As we approach the Peach Jam in what promises to be an exceptional display of basketball, Frazier looks to improve on what he’s able to provide the Wings Elite. Playing alongside the likes of Malik Monk and Marlon Hunter Jr., Frazier started 15 of 16 games in the EYBL’s regular season averaging 23.1 minutes per game. Frazier averaged 8.2 points per game (third-most for the Wings Elite) while shooting a highly impressive 58.5% from the floor and hauling in 4.8 rebounds per game. In fact, 41 of his 76 rebounds over those 16 games were on the offensive glass, including nine offensive rebounds in the loss to Mac Irvin.
Such numbers helped the Wings Elite to an 11-5 record, positioning them in a three-way tie atop Division D alongside MOKAN Elite and the Texas Titans; two teams the Wings Elite defeated. Frazier may only have hit 8-of-21 free throws over that span, but the 68th ranked recruit on ESPN continues to prove his abilities have a high ceiling.
Frazier will have another year at L.W. Higgins High School to continue improvements on his game as many of us wonder how much he will continue to grow both literally and as a player. As iron sharpens iron, it’s tough to argue that Frazier doesn’t have an excellent attitude about playing against such elite players: “I say playing against better and talented players helps me ‘cause it’s a challenge and it makes you work hard, and when you work hard, you get better.”