A Tulane source confirmed Wednesday that junior Melvin Frazier would sign with agent Thad Foucher of Wasserman Media Group, electing to stay in the NBA draft and give up his final year of eligibility with the Green Wave.
Frazier, a versatile 6-foot-6 forward who attended Higgins High, is the first Tulane player ever to leave for the NBA before his senior season.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony was the first to report Frazier’s decision to hire Foucher, a New Orleans native who also represents Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
“Early on, I just wanted to take time and focus on finishing my semester,” Frazier told ESPN. “After taking time to look at everything and talking with my family, I just feel like my time is now. I’m ready to get to work and take this next step. Looking forward to this next chapter of my life!”
Frazier had a breakout season at Tulane in his second year under coach Mike Dunleavy, earning second-team All-American Athletic Conference honors after averaging a team-high 15.9 points and 5.6 rebounds in 34.4 minutes while shooting 55.6 percent, second to teammate Samir Sehic for the best accuracy in the league. He added 65 steals, Tulane’s highest total since Kim Lewis had 67 in 1990-91.
Frazier's numbers were even better until he suffered a painful chest contusion in the opening minutes against Temple in Tulane’s 22nd game. Before then, he averaged 16.9 points, including a career-high 28 at Memphis on 10-of-15 shooting, 27 at North Carolina and 27 at SMU, when he drained six 3-pointers to show off his improved outside shot. In his first two years, he hit 27.2 percent of his 3s, but he raised that number to 38.5 percent as a junior.
Opinions on Frazier’s draft status vary. He tweeted recently he would be a top-20 pick. ESPN.com rates him the No. 30 prospect in the draft because of his ability to drive, shoot and defend. Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com predicted Tuesday he would be the No. 41 selection, going 11th in the second round.
Tulane has not had a player drafted since Jerald Honeycutt went No. 38 to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1997. No Wave player ever has gone in the first round.
Frazier received an invitation to the NBA draft combine camp in Chicago earlier this week. The combine, which runs from May 16-20, usually features about 60 draft prospects.
Frazier arrived at Tulane under then-coach Ed Conroy with an unpolished game. He averaged 5.2 points as a freshman, starting 10 times. He more than doubled that average to 11.5 points in his first year under Dunleavy and exploded this season.
His departure, though expected, is a blow to the Wave as it enters Dunleavy’s third year. The Wave improved to 14-17 overall and 5-13 in the AAC this season after going 6-25 and 3-15 in 2016-17.
Tulane also is losing second-leading scorer Cameron Reynolds, a senior who averaged 15.1 points and 6.3 rebounds.
The rest of the key contributors are expected to return, although sophomore point guard Ray Ona Embo (10.1 points, 3.3 assists) made himself available for the draft just before the entry deadline. Ona Embo did not hire an agent.
Tulane has two freshman signees — 6-foot-8 forward Moses Wood from Reno, Nevada, and 6-foot-6 wing Connor Crabtree from Hillsborough, North Carolina. A third prospect, 6-foot-8 forward Kevin Zhang of Montverde Academy (Florida), committed in April but has not yet signed.