Suns Come North

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Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 12:00 pm

The drum baseline of basketballs being dribbled up and down the court stay on beat. A melody made up of the rim rattling from a powerful slam dunk. Goosebumps awaken from slumber as the ball quickly hugs the polyester net making a swish. A high accent of shoes squealing on the hardwood come in offbeat. Accompanied by the constant cicadas from the florescent lights in the Rolle Activity Center. Northern Arizona University welcomes the Phoenix Suns training camp for their seventh consecutive year.

The music brings smiles to the Suns. The players once again find their way back to their favorite warmup song. The NBA is back.

One player could not get the song out of his head. Last year’s number one draft pick, Deandre Ayton. Eager to enter his second season, Ayton was in the gym this offseason when no one else was with 10 of his coaches.

“I’ve never worked so hard in the gym before in my life,” Ayton said.

Looking to improve from last year’s 19-63 season, Suns players have been on the grind this offseason. The Suns frontcourt were seen all over the globe this summer. Shooting guard Devin Booker was seen playing pick-up games around the country with fellow NBA stars. Newly acquired guard Ricky Rubio was overseas playing in the FIBA World Cup.

Rubio represented his home country Spain and led them to their second World Cup title. The crafty point guard was also awarded the FIBA World Cup MVP, averaging 16.4 points, 6.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Rubio is the second Spanish player to win the FIBA MVP award alongside Pau Gasol.

Just after the first practice, the FIBA MVP caught the attention of fellow Suns players. Ayton said that gaining the teammate of Rubio is special because he is one of the best facilitators on the court and a vocal leader.

“Ricky is so quiet off the court. You have to make eye contact to say hi, but on the court, he’s on my tail,” Ayton said. “It’s just how vocal he is out of nowhere with the ball in his hands.”

Rubio was one of the many acquisitions the Suns gained this offseason. Aron Baynes, Jevon Carter, Frank Kaminsky and Dario Saric also joined the roster this summer.

The newly shaped Suns added more new young faces during the 2019 NBA Draft. Phoenix selected Cameron Johnson 11 overall and Ty Jerome with the 24 pick. Jerome came off a NCAA National Championship with the Virginia Cavaliers during the 2018-19 season.

Suns new head coach Monty Williams said that Jerome picked up where he left off at Virginia.

In his Junior year at Virginia, Jerome averaged 13.6 points per game and shot .399 percent from beyond the arc.

After the first day of practice Jerome emerged to be one of the vocal leaders on the court. Williams said, “It’s a surprise to you guys, (media) but not to me.” Rubio, who was chatting it up on the court, also noticed the rookie’s emergence just after day one.

“He learned fast,” Rubio said. “I’m happy that he’s on our side.”

Phoenix opened up their 23 rd year training in Flagstaff today, Oct. 1 and will be in town until Friday the fourth. The training camp is not open to the public. There will be an Open Practice that fans can attend on Oct. 6 at 1p.m. located at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.

The Phoenix Suns tip off their 2019-20 regular season on Oct. 23 at 7p.m. against the Sacramento Kings.