Nick Fazekas works out for Philadelphia 76ers
June 12, 2007
PHILADELPHIA – Nick Fazekas is already getting a crash course on what NBA life is going to be like.
The former Nevada All-American forward worked out for the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, the team’s practice facility. It was the fourth NBA team he’s visited with nine stops remaining.
That is 13, count’em 13, private workouts before the NBA Draft on June 28.
“It’s been mentally hard,” Fazekas said. “Physically, it’s not very tough. But mentally, it’s tough. Each team asks questions and tells you what they thought after the workout. It’s hard mentally, but I’m fine with the physical aspects of it.”
This particular workout was extremely important for Fazekas because he knows that the Sixers own three first-round picks at Nos. 12, 21 and 30.
“I think I’m a first-round type of player and I would be happy if they drafted me,” Fazekas said. “I feel like I have a lot to offer to any team. With multiple picks in the first round, there’s a good chance they’ll take me if they like me. I think my skills are compatible with what they’re looking for.”
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Fazekas worked out with University of Pennsylvania forward Mark Zoller, a two-time all-Ivy League first team selection, Boston College forward Jared Dudley, the ACC Player of the Year and 7-foot Russian forward Artem Zabelin.
Since Nevada’s games were not easily accessible on the East Coast, Zoller and Dudley only knew what they had heard about Fazekas – until the workout.
“Wow, he’s 6-11 and can really shoot the ball,” Zoller said. “I was impressed. He can step out and knock down a three or post you up inside. Tough guy to guard.”
Dudley was equally in awe.
“He’s quick for his size,” he said. “It’s not just an outside game he’s got. He can go in and out pretty much at will. He’s going to be a very, very good player at the next level. I see why Nevada was so good with him there.”
Fazekas, the three-time Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, helped the Wolf Pack to four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. Fazekas finished his college career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,464 points. He also became Nevada’s career leader in blocked shots (192), field goals made (901) and free throws made (546).
In addition, Fazekas is just the sixth player all time to score 2,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line, joining Larry Bird, Rick Barry, Christian Laettner, Bill Bradley and Keith Van Horn.
But he accomplished those stellar numbers in relative obscurity. Did that bother him?
“No, not at all,” Fazekas said. “Playing for coach (Mark) Fox and playing with my teammates was a great time. Unfortunately, a lot of people didn’t see how good I really am because by the time our game came on, they were going to bed.”
Fazekas chose not to participate in the league’s pre-draft camp in Orlando, opting instead to go from one city to the next for private sessions.
By June 28, every NBA team will know about Fazekas’ skills.
“I believe I’m as good a shooter as there is,” Fazekas said. “There are definitely some good shooting bigs (big men) like (Kevin) Garnett, Yao (Ming) and Dirk (Nowitzki). If you’re going to outshoot me, you’re going to have to be pretty good to beat me.”
Before the draft, Fazekas said he will be concentrating on his conditioning.
“I’d like to improve my body,” he said. “I’d like to improve my movement on the court. I think it will definitely help me play better.”
Sixers vice president of basketball operations Tony DiLeo expects to find three players in the first round who will benefit the Sixers next season.
“We know we’ll get players that will help our team,” DiLeo said “All the players we are bringing in for workouts are players we think can help us potentially.”
Between now and the draft, Fazekas will continue his whirlwind tour. When the calendar finally flips to June 28, he will be relaxing with his family in Colorado waiting for the hone to ring. It will put an end to this exhausting process.
“I don’t exactly know what I’m going to be doing that night,” Fazekas said. “Maybe I’ll go bowling or something. I may not watch it. I don’t know. I haven’t thought too much about that yet.”
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