2005-11-25 / Sports

Frye Quickly Becoming Knicks’ New Goto Guy

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist

New York Knicks coach Larry Brown, left, congratulates Channing Frye after Frye scored 20 points to help the Knicks defeat the Portland Trail Blazers, 103-92. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)New York Knicks coach Larry Brown, left, congratulates Channing Frye after Frye scored 20 points to help the Knicks defeat the Portland Trail Blazers, 103-92. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) NEW YORK - When the Knicks picked Channing Frye eighth overall in the draft last June, they expected him to be an immediate force.

Needless to say, he is proving the scouts correct and making Coach Larry Brown very happy.

“Channing is getting better and better,” Brown said after the Knicks defeated the Portland Trailblazers, 103-92, behind Frye’s 20 points. “He can shoot the ball. Sometimes he’s a little unselfish, but I love that. He comes from an unbelievable program and a great coach [Lute Olson].”

Brown credits Frye’s success to his preparation at the University of Arizona, where he 13.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in his four seasons. Because the rookie stayed at the top ranked school, instead of coming out easily, he has been able to adjust to the rigors of the NBA a lot quicker.

“I do feel a lot more comfortable,” Frye agreed. “And I don’t know if it was because I was a four-year guy, but being coached by Coach Olson is a lot like being coached by Larry Brown. They both have a similar style. They both demand to play the best you can, not only in practice, but in game time.”

And it shows. Before Sunday’s game vs. Portland, Frye scored more than 20 points in each of the last two games of the West Coast trip. The center has been a bright spot on a Knick team, which seemed to have a lot of problems coming out of the box.

“It is amazing,” said center Eddie Curry, who is competing with Frye for playing time. “He is really pacing himself. He is getting better every day and is working hard. It is paying off for him.”

Added Stephon Marbury: “By the end of the season, he is going to be one of the best rookies in the League. Whenever you have that college experience, you have discipline.”

Frye is showing his control on the court, by just trying to stay well grounded and playing hard. Since Brown is trying to get a flow to the team, the 22 year-old is just doing everything he can to get playing time.. “I am just thankful to go out and play every day, so I just leave everything out on the court,” the rookie said. “I am very passionate every time I go out there, but I want to do it in the sense that it is conducive to the team.”

It also helps that Frye is breaking into a very young New York team. The center joins guard Nate Robinson and forward David Lee as the rookies, and Trevor Ariza and Eddie Curry are also in the same age bracket. Frye said: “We are such a young team, we are so close and the older guys are enjoying themselves a little more. So we want to go out and do the best we can for our teammates.”

Veteran forward Antonio Davis has taken the rookie under his wing. Frye is able to “pick his brain” and learn what it takes to be an NBA player for years to come.

But Davis feels his protegee doesn’t need a lot of teaching. “Winning is learning too, especially for our young guys, but guys like Channing Frye knows how to win,” Davis said.

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