Channing Frye riffs on Suns, his career and the federal hoops scandal

May 8, 2019, 12:16 PM | Updated: 6:24 pm

Teammates tackle Cleveland Cavaliers' Channing Frye after an NBA basketball game against the Charlo...

Teammates tackle Cleveland Cavaliers' Channing Frye after an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Cleveland. Frye is retiring after 13 seasons. Charlotte won 124-97. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Retirement came at the right time for Channing Frye. The former St. Mary’s High School product, Arizona star and Phoenix Sun called it a career after 14 years as an NBA player.

He had a nice retirement tour with hat-tips coming from opponents like the Suns and his own teammates. Since the Cleveland Cavaliers season ended, he’s thrown an awful first pitch and now is looking to keep his toes in the game — just without the need for stringent physical upkeep.

“It feels good,” Frye said when he joined Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I think for me, I was worried, am I going to want to get back? The opportunities I have outside of basketball have been amazing. I’m still involved and want to stay involved, but just not the physical part. It’s just a little much for me right now.

“At some point after 14, 15 years in the league, you’re like, OK, now is the time to take care of myself and my family.”

Frye spoke on his rooting interests, the Suns’ future, his career and more Wednesday on Bickley & Marotta.

On what made him a well-liked teammate as an NBA player: “I think it starts … when I went to college with Coach (Lute) Olson, for me it was like, listen, here’s your role, do your job. It doesn’t matter what your stats are, it doesn’t matter what you think or who thinks you should do what. Like, your game is going to dictate your job or the coach’s ability to put you in the right situation for all of us to win.

“When I came into the league, it wasn’t about, well, I need to average this or I need to do this. I’d rather be famous for winning than be famous for just getting stats.”

On what he sees from afar in terms of the Phoenix Suns’ future: “The Suns are doing good. I think for me, at some point, there’s been a lot of turnover and right now what they’ve said is: Listen, we have a young GM (James Jones) who’s won at almost every level he’s been at, he knows what he’s doing.

“He’s willing to get guys here to win. Devin Booker is now at the point where you can say, here, let’s put two or three guys around him so he can flourish even more.”

What are his thoughts on the federal college hoops trial that has involved the Arizona program: “To be honest, who knows, man? I’ll say this: Who cares? Right? Who cares? at the end of the day, if you paid a guy or students … it doesn’t matter. College basketball, for the most part, is at an all-time high. Basketball has been amazing. The NCAA tourney is making billions of dollars. People are missing work to watch this.

“At some point, if these kids are getting millions of dollars, come talk to me. Come talk to me because they should just be in the league. But Zion Williamson has no business to be in college. Whether he’s getting paid … anybody who is going to be a top-10 pick is getting paid in college, good for you. If you’re getting paid and you’re not a top-10 pick, even better for you. You’re stealing from whoever you’re at. For me, the lying and stealing, something has to come to a point where college kids are taken care of, especially college athlete. I don’t care, women, men — I don’t care football, baseball.”

On why Arizona did not get the ball to Salim Stoudamire in the Wildcats’ 2005 Elite Eight loss to Illinois: “Put it this way: It was a misdirection play that never got to the right direction. I never question anything that happens during that time because I have the utmost respect for everybody, but at the end of the day, of course you want to get the ball to your senior. We trusted everybody on that team, especially who the play was called for.

“Those dudes were shooting the ball from so far and back then that wasn’t the norm. I was showing on the guy I was guarding … I think it was (James) Augustine. I was showing and they were shooting behind my wingspan. All those dudes, they just got hot and it was pretty sucky. But thank you for that game, because that game made me a lottery pick (after Frye scored 24 points with 12 rebounds and six blocks), which kept me in the league, and thanks for the extra million.”

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