House Finds a Home with Suns

There is no place like home and this year no one NBA player knows that feeling better than ex-Sun Devil Eddie House, who's enjoying a career year with the Phoenix Suns. In this exclusive Devils Digest interview, House talks about his current success, as well as his days at ASU.

Eddie House, who's averaging 10.1 points and 16.9 minutes a game, has been across the country and back, playing for six teams in six years. His current stop has brought him back to the valley, just eight miles from his college stomping grounds. While he chuckles at the suggestion that all he needed was some good ol' home cooking to excel this season, he does point out several factors that have aided him in having his best season in the pros. "I think it's a combination of everything," said House. "It's being in the right system, with a coach who has confidence in you, being a guy that's in the rotation playing every night, and just being overall comfortable."

At Arizona State, House was a prolific shooting guard who tied Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) for the most points in a Pac-10 contest at 61. At 6-1 185, the claim was that he would have be proficient at the point guard position to have an NBA career. While he has already proved that theory wrong, he does cite his development at that role as one aspect of his game that has progressed in the last few years. "I think I've been improving at the one ever since I came into the league," he remarked. "I've always said that it's a matter getting on the floor and playing, and showing people what I can really do. Showing in spurts doesn't really help you prove yourself, but showing it night in and night out does show it. I made great strides with Sacramento last year playing the one, backing up Mike (Bibby) and I'm making even bigger strides here. I'm just enjoying playing basketball."

House has always been a flamboyant player, and his pre-game huddle dance has quickly become a crowd favorite. The ‘Eddie! Eddie!' chants have been a staple of every Suns' home game this season. The six-year pro says that being expressive is simply part of his makeup. "I'm an emotional payer, and I'm also an emotional person," he explained. "That's the way I am and I believe in what I'm doing. I think that's part of my game, but that's not all of my game. Some nights I don't have the emotion like that, but every night I have energy. Some nights I might be less emotional, and then something will spark it. It just depends."

As far as the crowd chants go, he remarked: "It started as supporting the guy who went to ASU and now it's more a respect of me playing hard. They see the energy and the passion that I bring every night and they respect that."

House is clearly one of the best players to don the maroon and gold in recent memory. During his senior year of 1999-00, he won the Pac-10 Player of the Week award four times, including three consecutive weeks. He posted 12 games of at least 30 points, and had four 40-points or more performances. "I had the greatest time of my life in that school," he said as he recalled his days as a Sun Devil. "I had trials and tribulations my whole career there. I stuck with the same school and coaches stuck with me. In the long run it made me a better player and person, and it made be more successful." He added that he's pleased to see Ike Diogu and Awvee Storey representing his school in the NBA and hopes to see additional ASU players join the NBA ranks in the future.

Aside from the historic 61-point game in his senior year, the guard does have another distinct memory from his days in Tempe. "There was a game in Oregon, where we were up by five points with like 12 seconds left," he said. "They threw the ball the length of the court and scored a three pointer. We tried to inbound the ball, Kyle Dodd threw me the ball as I was running deep and I couldn't catch it, and it went out of bounds. They in- bounded the ball, I got a hand on it but it slipped right through my hands, and they scored another three pointer from half court to win the game. That stopped us from going to the tournament that year."

Eddie House has been arguably the Suns' best bench player all season, and a significant part among the several newcomers that have helped the team stay atop the Pacific Division while they await the return of the injured Amare Stoudemire. House is satisfied with his play, but by no means is he about to rest on his laurels. "I think I have a lot of room for improvement," he commented. "I'm not even close to being maxed out. I'm just gonna continue to learn and try to get better. Players like Chauncey Billups, Mike Bibby and Steve Nash didn't peak until their seventh or eighth year in the league. So sometimes it does take a while to get to that point, and when you get there it's a matter of sustaining it."

The NBA journey hasn't come to an end for Eddie House, but suffice to say that Suns and Sun Devil fans alike would like nothing better than seeing him stay put in the Valley of the Sun. It has been a place where he has enjoyed, and is still enjoying, much success.

Who said you can never go back home?

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