Phoenix Suns Fans Guide to Watching the NBA Finals – Root For Channing Frye


As a Phoenix Suns fan, it may be hard to find a rooting interest in this year’s NBA Finals, but Channing Frye is the local favorite you can get behind.

The Warriors play in the Suns division, making it difficult to jump on the championship bandwagon. Cleveland is the only city in the way of the Suns claiming the karmic title of team most deserving of an NBA Championship.

Do you care if Lebron finally wins one for Cleveland? Does it matter to you whether or not the Warriors 73-win season goes to waste by falling short of winning the NBA title? Me neither.

I love the game of basketball and will watch every game attentively because the basketball is sure to be played at an absurdly, other-worldly level. So where can a Suns fan find joy in watching another team win the title? In Channing Frye.

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Channing Frye is set to play a major role in this year’s NBA Finals. Cleveland picked up Frye before the trade deadline in order to help them space the floor while Lebron and Kyrie torture opposing teams by driving the lane.

Cleveland’s plan has worked; they set the single game record for 3’s in an NBA game this post-season. Channing in particular has been cold blooded this postseason, taking advantage of his defenders lack of size and the space created by Lebron and Kyrie. The result: Channing Frye shooting 58% from three-point range during the first three rounds of the playoffs.

Well before Frye ever became a part of Lebron’s cast of Cavaliers, Channing was a skinny student for the Hendrix Huskies.

Channing Frye’s basketball fame began in small gyms around Mesa, Arizona. In fact, Channing and I were fellow Hendrix Huskies during his 9th grade year (I was in 7th).

Even back then, everyone in the valley knew Channing was special. In 9th grade, he stood out, and for the next 15 years, would be the tallest person I knew.

His family used to frequent the Cold Stone Creamery that resided on the corner of Warner and Alma School for over a decade. I know the Frye family dessert habits because 16 years ago, at that same Cold Stone, I was lead ice cream slinger.

Back then it felt like I was serving ice cream to a local celebrity. Even though they were two years ahead of me, I remember the impact he was making on Arizona basketball.

There was a buzz about how Dobson High was going to have the best two prospects in the state, at the same time. Talk was that with two dynamic big men, the Mustangs would be unstoppable statewide, and could gain national attention.

The other half of the tandem was Nick Dewitz; an exciting prospect and fellow Husky teammate of Frye. I remember watching DeWitz and Channing challenging each other to dunk the basketball when they were 14 years old.

Nick DeWitz went on to play at Iowa and Oregon State where he set the OSU single season record for 3-pt percentage at 50% (min. 50 attempts). But he wasn’t merely a shooter; DeWitz also had a dunk rank #5 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays of the Day.

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Much to the sadness of my fellow Dobson Mustangs, Channing chose to attend St. Mary’s (high school) and instead battled Dobson High School and Dewitz. It worked out for Frye, as St. Mary’s prevailed, surpassing Dobson and winning the State Championship Frye’s senior season.

Channing was a highly rated high school recruit and ultimately chose to play in state at the power house University of Arizona. From his freshman to senior year, Channing made a great impact on his U of A team and took home a host of awards.

He started a vast majority of the games in his college career and was a stand out on good U of A teams for his shooting and size.  His efforts were rewarded when ended up being the 8th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft to the New York Knicks.

Despite the hard feelings I had from Channing spurning Dobson for St. Mary’s, I am still rooting for him. It feels like I’m rooting for Arizona by doing so.

This is hard for me considering I blamed Channing, basically exclusively, for the Suns not beating the Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference Finals. “If only he had boxed out Ron Artest, the Suns could be NBA Champions”.

It’s been six years and I am finally able to separate the soul crushing defeat against the Lakers from how I feel about Frye.

There are plenty of guys who are representing U of A in the Finals. Steve Kerr, Channing Frye, Andre Igoudala and Richard Jefferson all were Wildcats in college, but Channing is the only true Arizonan in the bunch.

One final Fact about Frye, Channing’s son is named Hendrix, so he will never forget the small gym in Arizona is where his stardom was born.

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There are other former Suns in the Finals this year, Leandro Barbosa and James Jones for example. But they already won championships in their careers.

As a Suns fan, if you want to root for Arizona in a match-up between Ohio and California, Channing Frye is our guy.