FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Phoenix Suns opened their 2013 training camp this morning on the campus of Northern Arizona University. This year marks the 21st time the City of Flagstaff has hosted the team's training camp. The Suns will be practicing at the Rolle Activity Center from Tuesday through Friday with an intrasquad scrimmage at the Walkup Skydome on Saturday that is open to the public.
"The Phoenix Suns are Arizona's professional basketball team and we represent the whole state," said head coach Jeff Hornacek. "For us we want to get back to putting a championship type team out on the court that the whole state can get around. It's always tough for people (here in Flagstaff) to come down to Phoenix to watch a game, so we want to have a good product for them to come watch."
The Suns have a plethora of newcomers on its roster, but forward Markieff Morris believes that they just need to familiarize themselves as a team. "We need to figure out our strengths and weaknesses. There's going to be a lot of teaching in the first couple of days. I think for the most part a lot of guys are in great shape, so we don't have to worry as much about that."
Along with training for the upcoming season, the Suns will spend time in the Flagstaff community partnering with various outreach organizations and schools to put on clinics for the youth.
"I think Flagstaff is the forgotten place in Arizona," said Suns forward Channing Frye. "It's a great city with a great college. For me, I always used to come up here for tournaments. I think it's a great school for kids to go to. Being here in Flagstaff is just a great way to say 'thank you for letting us use your facility."
Phoenix first trained in Flagstaff in 1986, coincidentally the first training camp as a player for Hornacek. Although this is the Suns' first trip to Flagstaff since 2004, Hornacek had a big part in the team returning.
"Flagstaff is where we had training camp when I was playing and I thought the altitude and elevation was great for conditioning," Hornacek said. "I'm glad it worked out and hopefully we can come back here in future years. I think the guys like coming out here because it's different from Phoenix and it gives them a little change of scenery. It's good to get out of the city so they can really focus."