Channing Frye - The Cronkite School

Several students from ASU's Cronckite School visited Suns practice recently to hone their skills. The following is one of the articles produced by the students.

For the first time in his life, Channing Frye was told not to exercise. During the 2012 offseason, Frye was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (or DCM). DCM causes the heart to enlarge, weaken and pump blood less efficiently. Doctors warned him that physical activity could worsen his condition.

He sat out all of the 2012-13 season - a year with major changes. Only one player from Frye’s last playing season remains with the team: Markieff Morris.

The Suns also fired coach Alvin Gentry and named assistant coach Lindsey Hunter as interim coach before naming former NBA player Jeff Hornacek as coach on May 26. Suns general manager Lance Blanks was also fired and replaced by Ryan McDonough. Phoenix even rebranded the Suns before Frye’s return by renovating the team’s home court and releasing new uniforms. With all the change, Frye is almost dealing with a new team.

That means building chemistry. Frye doesn’t see it as an issue, though; he sees a young team with room to grow with a lot of unique parts. “Everyone has a piece here that’s a little bit different of the pie… Like everyone does something a little bit different, and that’s going to create a great team chemistry,” said Frye.

All the changes have left Frye the second oldest player on the Suns at 30. “If I am the oldest guy that means we have so many guys that are getting a chance to develop and grow,” said Frye. He pointed to rookie Archie Goodwin, who is 19, as a prime example of the type of young talent the Suns are giving chances to.

Hornacek likes the veteran leadership Frye can provide to such a young team, both in age and experience. But on the court is where Frye may most be needed. “We expect him to play in that first game whether he starts or we bring him off the bench; we need him in there,” said Hornacek.

Frye is expected to be used in his traditional role as a three-point shooter. “I think that’s his role he’s been his whole career. He can shoot the ball,” said Hornacek. But the Suns are going to expect more out of Frye this season, “Rebounding, stepping up defensively, really getting after the guys. We may expect more out of him in his all-around game than maybe he’s had to do in the past.”