Pinkney is making his mark | NevadaAppeal.com

Pinkney is making his mark

Darrell Moody
Appeal Sports Editor

It certainly did my heart good to see former Nevada star Kevinn Pinkney score 15 points in his NBA debut with the Boston Celtics.

Pinkney had been playing for Bakersfield in the NBA Developmental League when he was offered a 10-day contract by Boston.

As I’m writing this, I’m not sure whether he will get a second 10-day contract or not from Boston, but at any point, Pinkney certainly has proven that he is capable of playing the game at this level, and no doubt will be in somebody’s training camp next year with a legitimate shot to make a roster.

Pinkney had spent time playing in Europe after leaving Nevada, and he was averaging 19 points a game playing at Bakersfield, which is about four hours from where he grew up in California. He was in the Washington Wizards’ training camp this year, but released before the season started.

Pinkney is blue-collar all the way on the basketball court. He shines at doing the dirty work that rarely gets noticed by the casual basketball fan – namely defense, setting good screens and blocking out on rebounding.

I know that highlight reel dunks is what the NBA seems to be about these days, but there should be a place on every NBA roster for guys like Pinkney, who quietly puts his hard hat on and goes about his business everyday with little fanfare.

• It shouldn’t have been surprising to see that Nick Fazekas was going to leave school this semester to start preparing for the NBA Draft this summer.

Fazekas has been a good ambassador for Nevada, and brought the school plenty of notoriety in the last 3 1/2 years. Now we’re talking about some big money that he could get if he can impress some NBA scouts between now and the draft. He owes it to himself to see if he can move up on the pecking board.

I certainly don’t think he will be a lottery pick, but I do believe he should be a first-round selection because of his ability to score the ball. The NBA really is all about offense, and Fazekas certainly excels at that part of the game. He still needs to get bigger and he still needs to work on his defense. He will be going up against men, not boys, at the next level.

Philadelphia has three first-round picks, and certainly could use one of them on Nick. I think Utah, with its patterned half-court offense, would be a good fit. I know that San Antonio likes him, and with the 28th pick overall, Fazekas would be a good fit.

When I asked Nevada athletic director Cary Groth about Nick’s decision, she admitted she was disappointed because he was so close to graduating. Groth estimates that Fazekas may have only been a “few hours short” from graduation at the end of the semester.

Nevada officials believe that Fazekas will come back and finish his degree. I certainly hope he does.

• The college baseball season will start one month later next season, yet teams are being allowed to play the same amount of games.

Nevada coach Gary Powers said that the WAC will go to four-game conference series next year, playing single games on Friday and Sunday, and a double-header on Saturday. The double-header games would each be nine innings.

Two nine-inning games makes for a long, exhausting day for umpires, players, coaches and fans. Many times in college, teams play one nine-inning game and one seven-inning game. Heck, in the minors, double-headers are two seven-inning games.

There isn’t enough quality pitching now for the amount of games played. If teams continue to play Tuesday games, it will put a drain on plenty of staffs around the country. And, the WAC, according to Powers is going to keep the rosters at 25 for conference games. Now you are talking about possibly hurting a kid’s arm from overuse, and that’s not right. I’d love to see teams go up to 27.

It could even change the way teams recruit. You might see Powers go after more two-way type of players like a Shaun Kort, who can pitch and play first base. Louisiana Tech has had some success with using guys on the mound and in the field.

• I’m not wild about the current state playoff system that allows the North to send just one team down to Vegas every other year in sports ike basketball, baseball and softball. Quite simply, it robs a lot of good teams of a chance to continue their seasons and possibly win a state title.

In chatting with Bishop Manogue baseball coach Charles Oppio the other night, he indicated that there has been some discussion about going back to an eight-team format.

If the state does ever go back to that, I’d propose a 4-4 split when the tournament is in the north and a 5-3 split when the tournament is in Vegas. There are more 4A schools in Vegas, and quite frankly, much better competition on a daily basis.