ORONO, Maine — Less than a month after star guard Justin Edwards announced his intention to transfer, another front-line player is considering leaving the University of Maine men’s basketball program.
UMaine Director of Athletics Steve Abbott confirmed Monday he and Alasdair Fraser have been discussing the student-athlete’s future at the school. Fraser is considering foregoing his final year of eligibility to play pro ball.
“Ali is at the point in his career where he is a very viable option for the professional leagues in Europe,” Abbott said.
They first spoke Friday, and talked again Monday, according to Abbott, who said Fraser contacted him.
“That is his goal. He wants to be a professional basketball player,” Abbott said. “In all likelihood, that’s going to be his first job out of college.”
Neither Fraser nor UMaine head coach Ted Woodward could be reached for comment Monday evening.
Fraser, a 6-foot-7-inch forward from Falkirk, Scotland, earned All-America East second-team recognition last season for the second straight year.
Fraser was among the most efficient post players in the America East Conference ranking second on UMaine in scoring behind Edwards with 13.4 points per game, which placed him eighth in the league.
Fraser was fourth in AE rebounding (8.1 per game), fifth in field-goal percentage (.489), second in blocked shots (1.2) and sixth in average minutes played (33.3). He was third in offensive rebounds at 2.6 per contest.
It is unclear whether Fraser would consider transferring to another Division I program, as Edwards intends to do. That would mean Fraser must sit out one calendar year under NCAA rules before playing his final collegiate season.
It also would put him two years away from signing a pro deal.
Fraser’s other apparent source of motivation is the fact he has a girlfriend in Scotland. She recently came to visit him in Orono.
The latest post on Fraser’s Twitter account, dated Saturday, read: “The next 3 weeks needs to go faster! I want to get the summer started and go home!”
Abbott said his role in talking to Fraser is simply to help him sort out all the possibilities as he ponders his future.
“My role is to advise him on his options, what makes the most sense for him, keeping in mind his ultimate goal is to be a professional in Europe,” Abbott said. “It’s not a decision any of us can make for him. It’s a decision he has to make.”
Fraser’s decision could be affected by UMaine’s struggles under Woodward the last two seasons. The Bears went 11-19 overall, 6-10 in league play, and finished sixth in the standings before losing their eighth consecutive postseason game, in the America East quarterfinals.
The previous season, UMaine went 12-17 and 6-10 in conference and wound up seventh.
On the court, Fraser has been the frequent target of opposing defenses, which have commonly double-teamed him once he received a pass in the paint or along the baseline.
During 2011-12, he led America East with eight double-doubles, averaging 12.9 points and 7.8 rebounds. Fraser played in 27 of the Black Bears’ 29 games as a sophomore and started all 30 contests last season.
Abbott is hopeful Fraser will return for his senior season as he would be one of only two seniors, along with Jon Mesghna.
“I have a lot of respect for Ali not only as a player but as a student and as a great member of our team,” Abbott said. “Of course I would love to see him play for Maine another year. If he decides to go in another direction, I’m going to support him with that, too.”
The One-Bid Wonders website (onebidwonders.com), run by Sam Perkins, Tweeted on Monday that Fraser is “officially out at Maine.”