PHOENIX - An enlarged heart kept former Arizona Wildcats big man Channing Frye from playing in the 2012-13 NBA season, but there wasn't a thing he could do about it but wait. The diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy came just more than a year from the Suns' media day on Monday, but the team medically cleared their stretch power forward in time for him to join Phoenix in Flagstaff for training camp.
It was a long time coming. And one Frye foresaw. His completed Arizona degree would've allowed him to walk away from the game and teach, he said, but his family never asked him to stow away his love for basketball.
"I'm happy to be a part of this team, I'm happy to put this uniform on," said Frye, who grew up in Phoenix before attending Arizona as an unrefined, skinny center. "I feel like I'm doing it again for the first time. I feel good. I'm a little out of shape but I feel good."
Frye was relegated to practicing yoga and golfing because of his heart issue. Now that Phoenix confirmed Frye is good to go -- general manager Ryan McDonough said the team wanted a unanimous decision -- he has zero restrictions and won't be taking any prescriptions for his ailment.
"It's so rare," Frye said of the heart issue. "There's no real explanation. It could be a thousand things - drank too much coffee, didn't get enough sleep, too much stress, overuse. It's like my heart had a cold, had a cold for a year, went away. Now I'm better."
The immediate future is simply about getting into basketball shape. There was no confidence lacking nor hesitancy from Frye about his health moving forward. At the Suns' media day, head coach Jeff Hornacek ended a press conference by shouting, "Can you still shoot?"
"Always," Frye shot back.
Moving forward, Frye will only be required to undergo precautionary testing every six months. He called the press conference that preceded the rest of the Suns' media extravaganza like his first day in Phoenix all over again. For a 30-year-old who has spent a good deal of his life in Arizona, it was an even bigger day.
"I just felt like I was never done (playing basketball)," Frye said. "Even when things didn't look good, I was determined to kind of approach this like I approach everything else. I think everyone who's been here since I was in high school knows I wasn't always the best, I wasn't always the strongest or the tallest. I just want to play ball."
Solomon Hill impresses in Indy
It's usually easy to fish for compliments regarding rookies. But something seems a little different in Indianapolis with Pacers forward and former UA forward Solomon Hill. The rookie wasn't a popular choice with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2013 draft, but the Pacers sure are buttering him up.
This isn't about the future either. Indiana coaches and players think Hill is mature, smart and skilled enough to earn playing time in the very near future, according to the Pacers website.
"He's a rookie so he's at the very bottom of the depth chart for now," coach Frank Vogel said. "But I don't anticipate he's going to stay there for long. [I've] just been very, very impressed with him. If he were called on and he had to be a big factor opening night, he would do very well. He's shown me a lot already."
Kyle Fogg invited to Nuggets training camp
Former Arizona shooting guard Kyle Fogg is a longshot to make the Denver Nuggets roster, but it's impressive that he's been invited to the team's training camp.
Team dinner at Elway's— Kyle Fogg (@KFogg21) October 1, 2013
It probably helped that a new member of the Nuggets' front office watched a lot of Fogg with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers last season. Former Houston Rockets director of player personnel Arturas Karnisovas is the new assistant general manager in Denver.