Jones and Fazekas: Two great Pack players
Nevada Appeal News Service
RENO- Retired University of Nevada football coach and athletic director Dick Trachok has seen scores of basketball players come and go during the past half century.
Yet, as far as Trachok is concerned, the Wolf Pack program has been blessed with two collegiate superstars, Nick Fazekas and Edgar Jones.
“Edgar, he could jump higher than Fazekas. As far as scoring, Fazekas has a better touch,” Trachok said. “Edgar was intimidating.”
Trachok, though, refuses to speculate who the better player is.
“Both are good players, but they are different in their styles,” he added.
Fazekas, the All-American senior from Arvada, Colo., became the Wolf Pack’s leading score of all time Saturday night, surpassing Jones’ 27-year record of 1,877 points. Fazekas has most of the season to add to his total, which is holding at 1,882 points until the Pack’s next game on Tuesday.
At 17:51 of the second half, Fazekas tipped in a missed Ramon Sessions’ layup to edge past Jones by one point.
“It means a lot to me,” Fazekas said after the game.
The Nevada senior pumped in 12 first-half points including a pair of treys to give him momentum to overtake Jones, a Wolf Pack star from 1975 to 1979.
Anticipation gnawed on Lawlor Events Center’s 7,435 fans with the record ready to snap. Forty-four seconds into the second half, Fazekas put his Midas touch on a short layup. Less than one minute later, the 6-foot-11 franchise hauled down an offensive rebound and then converted a right-handed layup.
Once Fazekas broke the record, the fans gave Fazekas a standing ovation. Blue and white Wolf Pack flags waved over the student section near the Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s basket.
“It means a lot to me.,” Fazekas said. “To be able to put my name in the record books, it’s special for me. I talked to my dad before the game and he said not to put pressure on myself.”
Fazekas had been counting his points along with the fans, and he knew when Jones’ record fell.
“It’s not everyday when the whole crowd stands up and goes nuts,” Fazekas said. “They gave me a standing ovation … and I thank the fans for that.”
During his four years at Nevada, Fazekas has led the Pack to three Western Athletic Conference titles. A fourth championship is also for the taking this season. Fazekas and his teammates are accustomed to playing before large crowds at Lawlor Events Center. Jones would have given his right-handed jam to play at Lawlor.
During his four years as a Wolf Pack player, Jones prowled the Centennial Coliseum (now the Reno-Sparks Convention Center) as his own basketball heaven. The venue was small and cozy and loud.
Brian Whalen, a retired facilities director for the University of Nevada, said he remembers how Jones electrified the crowds at the Centennial Coliseum with his spectacular dunks.
Most fans who have seen both Jones and Fazekas are receiving pamphlets in the mail asking them to join AARP.
Another generation and many more players will pass before the current crop of college fans look back on Nov. 18, 2006.
Chris Healy, public affairs officer for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said he also has a difficult time trying to compare Fazekas and Jones. He was a student at the University of Nevada during the Jones’ playing days.
“Nick is quietly confident. He’s so much more fundamentally sound. Edgar was more explosive,” Healy said. “What Edgar lacked in fundamentals, he made up in athletic ability.”
Healy remembers the intimidation Jones showed other teams
“He used to play without his front teeth. A guy from BYU elbowed him and knocked out his teeth. He liked the look.”