Waiting, waiting, then finally…
June 28, 2007
Nevada basketball stars Nick Fazekas and Ramon Sessions realized childhood dreams and will embark on new careers after being selected in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.
Fazekas, the three-time WAC Player of the Year and two-time All-American, was the 34th overall selection. More importantly, he was the Dallas Mavericks’ first selection. The Mavericks went 67-15 during the regular-season.
Sessions, who left Nevada a year early, was the 56th player selected and went to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round.
Many newspapers and web-sites expected Fazekas to go anywhere from 26th to 30th. He missed out on a three-year guaranteed contract by just four spots.
In a poll taken by ESPN during the draft, he was mentioned as the second-best second-round draft pick who could have an immediate impact next season. Jay Bilas, ESPN’s college basketball expert, said Fazekas is an NBA player.
“It’s good,” Fazekas said when asked about where he went in the draft. “I was the first pick by the Mavericks. Certainly you want to be picked in the first round, but I’m not disappointed by any means.
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“Coach (Avery) Johnson told me he was thrilled to have me, and couldn’t wait to get a chance to work with me.”
Johnson told Dallas-area reporters that the team tried to move into the first round to get Fazekas then. The highly successful coach also said that he was surprised that Fazekas was still there at No. 34.
“My agent (Chris Emons) told them that to guarantee (getting me) they would have to get to No. 16, because there was a chance that I might go to New Jersey. They decided to roll the dice to get me at 34.
“I was still surprised and happy. It was the last place I could go, and it’s probably the best place I could go.”
Johnson said that the Mavericks went into the draft looking for a back-up to veteran superstar Dirk Nowitzki, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player this past season. He was looking for a big man who could pass and shoot, and those are definitely Fazekas’ strong suits.
“It will be cool (to hopefully back up Nowitzki),” Fazekas said. “Hopefully things will get to a point where Dirk and I will be on the floor together.”
Fazekas brings tremendous offensive credentials to the Mavericks. He scored 2,464 points and grabbed more than 1,200 rebounds in his four-year career at Nevada, helping the team to the NCAA Tournament each year. Many experts said he was the second or third-best shooter in the draft regardless of position.
Donn Nelson, the Mavericks’ general manager, gushed about Fazekas’ offensive talents. He said Fazekas was probably the best shooter in the draft.
“He (Fazekas) went to a good team,” Nevada coach Mark Fox said from New York City where he attended the draft. “He was the first player selected by that team.”
Sessions, who averaged 12 points and nearly five assists and five rebounds a game last year, was excited to be picked. He said he was busy making arrangements to meet the Milwaukee media on Monday.
“Of course I was nervous all the way leading up to it,” said Sessions. “It worked out for the best. I’m thrilled to be a Milwaukee Buck.
“I’m living it (my childhood dream). To hear my name called out in the draft. I’m happy. It’s working out.”
According to Sessions’ agent, Atlanta-based Chubby Wells, the Bucks are a good fit.
“We just talked to them,” Wells said a few minutes after the draft ended. “They needed a point guard. It’s a great situation for him. We’re excited.”
“I talked to their general manager, and they are looking for a No. 2 point guard,” Sessions said. “Hopefully I can come in, learn, and help the team right away.”
Sessions said he will be playing for the Bucks’ Summer league team in Las Vegas starting on July 6.
Veterans Mo Williams and Earl Boykins ran the point for the Bucks last year.
Some of Milwaukee’s top players started their careers as second-round picks, most notably sharpshooter Michael Redd (2000) and Ruben Patterson (1998). Williams was a second-round pick in 2003 and Dan Gadzuric, formerly of UCLA, was selected in the second round in 2002.
Fox told Sessions that it was a gamble if he came out early and wasn’t going to be in the first round.
“I’ll never criticize Ramon,” Fox said. “I told him it would be a gamble. I’m not a gambler. I have faith in him.”
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