Frye Lauds No. 1 Arizona, Likes Chances of '03 Team

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It’s been a good year for Channing Frye. The 6-11 sharpshooter has annihilated any concern about his comeback from a 17-month sabbatical from basketball due to heart complications. He’s averaging 12.1 points per game while shooting above 40 percent from three-point range. He’s been a big reason why the Suns have already exceeded many outsiders’ expectations.

Then, of course, there’s the current state of his college team. University of Arizona men’s hoops is in its sixth week as the No. 1 ranked team in the country, courtesy of a school record 17-0 start heading into Thursday night’s tilt against in-state rival Arizona State.

And yes, Frye will be watching, just as he has done all year.

“They look like they’re genuinely having fun out there,” Frye said. “Each guy’s stepping up and doing different things. I think the veteran leadership they’ve had is pretty awesome.”

No surprise that Frye, one of the few veterans on the Suns’ roster, credited Arizona’s upperclassmen. A pair of juniors lead the team in scoring and assists, respectively, though the Wildcats also boast a talented group of underclassman.

So who would win a hypothetic matchup of this year’s No. 1 team against the best squad from Frye’s college playing days?

To make his choice, Frye chose the 2002-03 Wildcats edition that made it to the Elite Eight before losing to No. 1 seed Kansas by three. That squad featured future NBA players Andre Iguodala, Luke Walton, Will Bynum, Salim Stoudamire, Hassan Adams and Frye.

With that in mind, Frye’s answer was the same as it would be toward any other question – respectful but confident.

“That’d be a good matchup. I can’t say we would lose,” he said. “We had five or six NBA guys on that team and they have five or six NBA guys on this team. It’d be a great game. Even though they’re a little bit bigger, I think we shot better and we executed better.”

For those wondering, the ’03 team averaged over 10 points more per contest, but shot 46.1 percent from the floor, compared to the 48.1 percent clip this year’s team is currently making.

Obviously the rest of the season, including the NCAA Tournament, needs to play out before the comparisons – both statistical and hypothetical – can be complete.

Just know that this year’s record-setting Wildcats team has a former UofA standout’s attention.