Athlete close up: Senior Forward Ja’Dante’ Frye
November 10, 2016
As the Nicholls State University men’s basketball team prepares to open their 2016-2017 season this weekend, forward Ja’Dante’ Frye has high hopes for his last year on the court as a Colonel.
Frye is the team’s leading returning scorer and has set the bar high for himself and his teammates for the upcoming season and for his own plans beyond basketball at the college level.
“In my first conversation with him, I could tell that he was really excited and hungry to get better,” Head Coach Richie Riley said. “He wants to be a really good player and he wants to play after this. I love coaching guys that want to play professionally, and he works at that pace.”
Frye’s leadership has meant a lot to Riley as a new head coach as he has spent a lot of time focusing on meshing the old players with the new and developing team chemistry and culture.
“It takes a strong personality, which he has, and an unselfish kid, which he is, to bring this team together and I think he has done a fabulous job doing that,” Riley said.
Riley notes that as a huge piece to the program, Frye has made a conscious effort to earn the respect of his teammates and secure a foothold as a leader on the team who has known and loved the sport his entire life.
“I’ve been playing basketball for as long as I can remember,” Frye said. “My parents put me in football and baseball when I was little, but I was always good at basketball so I decided to stick with it.”
Frye attributes his great success to his main support system, which is his parents. From club basketball, to high school ball, to basketball at the college level, his mom and dad have been there every step of the way to motivate him.
Besides balancing the responsibilities of a student athlete, Frye is also a father. Although his daughter lives out of town, he makes time to talk to his ten-month-old every day on the phone.
“I do what I have to do and I don’t let anything set me back,” Frye said on being a father. “I thank God I still have the opportunity to stay in school and I’m lucky I have my parents and everyone else around me to help me.”
Frye said between the routine of going to class, practice, and workouts, being a dad is the fun part.
Another thing that sets Frye apart is the fact that he was born and raised right in Thibodaux, unlike any of his teammates. He made a last-minute decision to attend Nicholls and walk on to the basketball team, where he was given the opportunity to earn a scholarship.
“Our guys joke around and call him the ‘King of Thibodaux’ because he knows every single person,” Riley said. “Wherever I go as a coach, people in the community are always asking me about Ja’Dante’ Frye.”
Because everyone loves rooting for a “hometown hero,” Riley believes more people will be attracted to the stands of Stopher to come see someone who has been doing great things right in their backyard.
Looking forward to the season, Frye thinks the team will be able to come together to win a few games that people might expect them to lose. On a personal level, he wants to be the best he can for his team. Looking beyond his senior year, Frye has even bigger goals.
“I want to keep playing basketball wherever I have the opportunity to,” Frye said. “I don’t want to stop playing anytime soon. I love this game and I want to die playing it.”