Men's Basketball

SMU basketball facing NCAA investigation; player suspended

SMU's Keith Frazier (4) looks up at the scoreboard late in the second half of a November game against Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. SMU acknowledged Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, that it was facing an NCAA investigation after announcing earlier in the day an appeal of an academic suspension that would sideline Frazier for the rest of the season.
SMU's Keith Frazier (4) looks up at the scoreboard late in the second half of a November game against Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. SMU acknowledged Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, that it was facing an NCAA investigation after announcing earlier in the day an appeal of an academic suspension that would sideline Frazier for the rest of the season. AP

SMU acknowledged Friday that it was facing an NCAA investigation after announcing earlier in the day an appeal of an academic suspension that would sideline basketball player Keith Frazier for the rest of the season.

The investigation was announced three days after the school said assistant coach Ulric Maligi was taking an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons.

Maligi, an Arlington native and former UT Arlington assistant coach, recruited Frazier out of Kimball High School in Dallas.

A person with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on Friday that the probe involved men’s basketball and golf. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the school wasn’t commenting on specifics of the investigation.

Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown said in a statement earlier Friday that Frazier would miss the Mustangs’ game Saturday against East Carolina to attend a funeral and that the school was appealing the guard’s suspension.

Frazier’s suspension comes after forward Markus Kennedy missed the first 10 games for academic reasons. Frazier is averaging 10.5 points per game, second behind guard Nic Moore (14.3).

A year ago, Frazier’s academic status was in question after The Dallas Morning News reported that a high school physics teacher was pressured to raise Frazier’s grade in order for him to be eligible to attend college.

At the time, SMU acknowledged that Maligi had asked the school whether Frazier needed to do extra academic work the summer before his freshman season with the Mustangs. Frazier is a sophomore.

WFAA/Channel 8 reported that Frazier was the subject of a News 8 investigation into improper recruiting at Kimball in 2012. A follow-up investigation showed that his grades had been changed in the transfer from another school.

A year ago, News 8 uncovered a DISD internal report implicating Frazier and an SMU basketball coach in a cheating scandal at Kimball.

Maligi also recruited high school standout Emmanuel Mudiay, who played at a charter school co-founded by former NFL player Deion Sanders. After signing with SMU, Mudiay decided to play professionally in China. He will be eligible for the NBA draft this year.

Brown also recently announced that reserve forward Justin Martin, who transferred from Xavier with one season of eligibility remaining, was leaving the team to turn pro.

Also Friday, the school said former Duke forward Semi Ojeleye was transferring and would be eligible in December. He averaged 2.0 points and 1.3 rebounds in 23 games over two seasons, including six games this season. Ojeleye will have two years of eligibility remaining.

According to his SMU website bio, Maligi was an assistant coach at UT Arlington in 2006-07. He spent three seasons (2002-05) as a student assistant coach/video coordinator at Howard University. He received his bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Howard in 2006.

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