It’s now crunch time for Fazekas
Appeal Sports Writer
Five big men left for three, possibly four spots.
That’s what Nevada forward Nick Fazekas faces as tryouts for USA Basketball’s Under-21 team head down to the wire in Texas.
Fazekas is the only WAC player that was even invited to camp, and he would like nothing better than to represent Nevada and the WAC well.
“My teammates (at Nevada) all said don’t go out there and play badly,” Fazekas told USABasketball.com. “You have to go out and show everyone what you can do and go out there and play well. I think there is a little pressure, but not enough to alter my game. I just have to go out there and do what I can do and control the things I can.
“Things have been going all right. Coach (Phil) Martelli doesn’t say much. We just go out and play. Scrimmaging is the best part. It’s even better for me when there is structure (an offense with plays).”
The experience has been a fun one for Fazekas because of the ability of the other players on the team.
“It’s definitely tougher than going up against guys at practice (or in league),” Fazekas said. “They are a lot larger and athletic and stronger. They are all future NBA prospects. They make you a lot better.”
Martelli, who coaches St. Joseph’s University, has been impressed with Fazekas.
“I think he has done remarkably well considering all the other big guys are big and brawny,” Martelli said in a phone interview. “He’s definitely hanging in there because of his skill. He’s definitely in the mix. We have seven spots established, and he’s in the mix for one of the last five spots. We’ll be cutting down to either 12 or 13 after tonight (Wednesday). We’d like to get it done.
“We’re going to keep four or five big men. He’s (Fazekas) unique. He’s our tallest guy. He has skills. We got rosters today, and Australia has a 7-3 guy and there’s a 7-2 guy playing tonight from Ukraine. They don’t like to throw the ball in down low. He likes to turn and shoot. You have to have somebody that can detour the shot. Nick is long.”
And, he’s not a bad shot blocker, averaging nearly two blocks per game.
Fazekas did a nice job against the Dallas Mavericks summer team, scoring seven points in approximately 14 minutes. Obviously he’d like to improve those numbers tonight against Ukraine, and make the prestigious team.
“Not a lot of jump shots have been going down,” Fazekas said. “My jump shot isn’t what it needs to be.”
Hopefully it makes a big comeback tonight, because offense is where Fazekas has made a name for himself across the country, and it’s what will get him into the NBA in one or two years.
Martelli made it a point to say they were trying to put together the best “team” which leads you to believe he is looking for role players and not just the superstars. Fazekas isn’t the type to make waves, and a big guy that can fill it up is hard to find.
“He’s so quiet and so respectful,” Martelli said. “Hopefully he has seen his game grow because he’s been exposed to NBA players (in practice). We haven’t been using referees, and he’s been banged around quite a bit. He never lets on. He just plays right through it.”
That’s Fazekas. He walks softly and has a deadly touch. Just ask the WAC coaches.