The first clue Cameron Frith was ready to turn in a special season came via a conversation.
“When the players came back to us in the summer he was a phenomenal player and leader,” Horizon Honors boys basketball coach Ernest Shand said. “He came to me and asked me what the goal was. No player had ever approached me without being sought out and he understood how important it was to start on the same page.”
It was a prelude to the impact Frith, the Eagles’ lone senior, would have on the team this year.
He is playing on a high level in just his second year of high school basketball after sitting out his sophomore year per Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) rules on transfers.
“I knew there was going to be some weight on my shoulders, but I was ready for that,” he said. “I am a pretty vocal leader and I’m in the position I want to be in my senior year. I talked to coach to make sure we were on the same path from the start of the team building part of it.”
The 5-foot-10 Frith averaged 18.6 points, 4.1 assists and 1.8 assists through the first nine games for the Eagles as he took on an expanded role after being surrounded by upperclassmen last year.
“He handled himself last year as a starting point guard with little to no high school experience,” Shand said. “He took it on like a champ and had a good year on a senior-laden tam.
“It’s continued into this year and you can tell he put in a lot of time with his trainer.”
Frith and his freshman brother, Connor, are homeschooled and the former played for the East Valley Athletes for Christ, which played in the Arizona Charter Athletic Association, before coming to Horizon Honors.
Frith, who is also taking classes at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, had to sit out a year before taking over the starting point guard role last year. Frith played well (11.8 points, 4.1 assists), but he wasn’t satisfied so he went back to work with trainer Kevin Augustine, who is a former pastor who has helped several players at Gilbert Christian.
“I tried out for a few (club) teams but decided to put more time in with my trainer,” he said. “My parents and I thought it would be more beneficial. He really helped with my basketball IQ and made me physically better.
“My jump shot and my ball handling are better, but he changed the way I saw the game. He showed me how to look at the game differently when it comes to reading the defense while playing on offense.”
Frith, who has received some attention from Arizona Christian University, is doing what he can but it has been a struggle — the team is 5-12 heading to Friday’s game at Chino Valley — with a very young roster that includes two freshmen getting vital minutes.
“We have been struggling,” he said. “We’ve been coming out slow and waking up in the fourth. Our fourth quarters have been great. We need to have consistency over the entire game.
“Focus was going to be the biggest key over the whole year.”
Shand said his go-to guy has been just that — focused.
“This is the first time we’ve been young since I’ve been here,” Shand said. “I didn’t give youth enough credit for the damage it can do. We are in the hardest section in the state. I knew we’d have a lot of work too, but having Cameron has made it easier.
“He’s hit two game winners. He came to me and asked if I was OK with that shot he took. I knew no one else was going to shoot the ball. I just had to make sure we created the space he needed.”
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