Youth from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community took part in the Casino Arizona Youth Basketball Clinic held at Salt River High School on February 10. Children from ages 7 to 12 were divided into age groups to take part in basketball-skills rotations.
Representatives from the Phoenix Suns conducting the clinic included forward-center Channing Frye, community ambassador and alumnus Steve Hunter, and Suns camp coach Hector Dorame. The Gorilla and members of the Sol Patrol were also on hand to work with the kids. Phoenix Suns broadcaster Tom Leander provided the introductions, and they all spoke to the youth about living a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and exercise.
Frye had to take a year off the court due to a heart condition, and he told the youth how he ate junk food and became unhealthy during that time. He explained that it took him a while to get back into shape and how it is very important for the children to take care of themselves and start healthy habits while growing up.
“What we are doing today is just trying to help these kids eat right and be active. We want to make sure that we get the point across about eating healthy and how it’s going to help them in the long run, and if they see that I can do it, then they know that they can do it too,” said Frye.
Throughout the evening, the groups rotated every 15 minutes around different stations set up on the basketball court. At the shooting station, Frye coached them on their shooting skills. He also would block an occasional shot as a way to teach the young players how to never let their guard down on the court.
The other drill stations were for passing, defense, dribbling and stretching.
“Today we are promoting fitness, living a healthy and active lifestyle at the clinic,” said Frye. “I always enjoy giving back what I can to the communities, talking with young people about healthy choices.”
Frye is a resident of Arizona and attended St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix.
“I think it’s extremely important and is what helped save my life. Eating the right things and getting the right exercise is very important, and we are making sure we are giving these kids the best chance to live a long time. If I can make an impact on at least one kid, I know [how important that is]. I was that one kid [years ago] when Mark West and Kevin Johnson came to speak to us, and look at me now.”
The kids received T-shirts at the beginning of the clinic, and wrist bands were given out by the Sol Patrol. The kids joined in a group photo with Frye, Hunter, Leander, Dorame, the Solar Squad and the Gorilla at the end of the clinic.