Tsunami Papi's Newest Wave: The Valley Boyz

Kelly Oubre Jr.
by Cody Cunningham

Points. Rebounds. Assists. Blocks. Field goals attempted. Field goals made. Free throws attempted. Free throws made.

Since being traded to the Phoenix Suns back in December, Kelly Oubre Jr. has notched career-highs in every single one of these categories as the 23-year-old has quickly become a fan favorite in Arizona.

“I’m just so happy that Phoenix, [James Jones] made the call and traded for me to come to Phoenix because that was the biggest blessing of my career so far,” Oubre said Tuesday on 98.7 FM Arizona Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo.

Oubre is averaging 16 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1 block in a Suns uniform and has played a crucial role in the team’s latest back-to-back victories. His impressive two-way ability seems to be taking Phoenix by storm as every game more and more Oubre jerseys begin to appear amongst fans in the crowd at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

“It’s love,” Oubre said. “It means everything. I give my heart and my soul to the city every time I step onto the court with Phoenix Suns across my chest and they reciprocate the same energy. You can’t ask for a better partnership.”

Even with restricted free agency luring in the near future, Oubre is more concentrated on continuing to build something special in Phoenix.

“Why would I go anywhere else?” Oubre told Burns & Gambo. “I’m here. I’m getting established and I’m not a guy that really wants to be on a million teams in my tenure in the league. I just want to create a dynasty and a legacy here in Phoenix with [Deandre Ayton], [Devin Booker], [Mikal Bridges], all the guys in the locker room. It’s beautiful.”

Although he hasn’t been with the team long, Oubre has not only provided a spark for the Suns on the court, but has also played a huge role in helping develop the culture in the locker room.

“He’s very vocal,” Tyler Johnson said. “He definitely brings a great sense of energy both on and off the court. When you enjoy being around certain people, then it’s a little bit easier to go out and fight with them.”

Oubre even coined a nickname for himself and his fellow teammates: The Valley Boyz.

What all started due to a location tag of “Valley Boyz” on his Instagram post on Jan. 9 has quickly turned into one of the most popular hashtags among Suns fans.

“[Merchandise] coming soon,” Oubre said. “It’s dope. Valley Boyz is exactly what we are. It’s kind of the wave. We’re going to keep riding it.”

The phrase has only helped with team comradery as Johnson is in full support of the nickname as he and Kelly continue to get implemented into the Suns system.

“I think it’s dope,” Johnson said. “He’s been a real spark for this team. I think it’s wonderful to watch because he was, I don’t want to say put in a box, when you’re playing behind two all-stars, it’s going to be a little bit more difficult for you to showcase everything that you might be able to, but I think since he’s been here, he’s been great. It’s beautiful to watch.”

But nickname and career-highs aside, Oubre is just getting started.

“Ever since I’ve came to the team they’ve given me freedom to just find myself,” Oubre said. “Now I just think these last four years, everything I’ve been working on, is coming to fruition and coming to life. I’ve just got to continue to get better, continue to just put the work in and trust myself.”

Oubre will look to build off his 27-point performance on Monday as the Suns gear up to face the New York Knicks on Wednesday at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.

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