Sessions makes NBA debut
Appeal Sports Writer
SALT LAKE CITY – Ramon Sessions will remember Oct.10, 2007 for the rest of his life.
After all, it’s not everyday that you realize your childhood dream by playing in your first NBA game.
“It’s been a great experience getting out here,” Sessions said after scoring his first professional point in Milwaukee’s 90-81 preseason win over the Utah Jazz Wednesday night. “I don’t regret the decision at all. I’m looking forward to the season. Things have been going great.
“I believe (only playing basketball with no school) it will help me. You can’t just be in the gym for a couple of hours a day. You have to put all your time into it. You get all day to work on your game.”
Sessions, a former point guard, stepped onto the floor with five minutes left in the first half. While he was on the floor, the Bucks outscored the Jazz 14-10, helping close Utah’s lead to 43-41 at halftime.
At first, Sessions didn’t hear his name called because he was talking with a teammate while sitting on the baseline.
“When I went out, I was a little nervous,” Sessions admitted to a group of Nevada reporters. “It was a great experience.”
Less than a minute after entering the game, he became more than just a name in the boxscore when he notched his first-ever assist with a nice pass to Yi Jianlian. With 1:22 left, he took the ball to the basket hard, was fouled and hit one of two free throws. With less than a minute left, he picked up his second assist with a nice feed to Bobby Simmons.
As he left the floor at the half, he got words of encouragement from veteran shooting guard Michael Redd and starting point guard Mo Williams, who didn’t play because of a shoulder injury suffered in the Bucks’ preseason opener.
That was the extent of Sessions’ action. The rest of the time he spent cheering on his teammates and listening to coach Larry Krystkowiak. During every timeout, Sessions was on Krystkowiak’s left shoulder, watching the coach diagram plays or defenses.
Sessions, drafted in the second round by Milwaukee, has been a workaholic since being drafted and passing up his senior season with the Wolf Pack. He knows it will take nothing less than his best effort to make the squad.
And, even that might not be enough. The Bucks have several players that can play the point. Currently, the Bucks have eight players that can play either point or off guard.
Does being a true point guard help his cause?
“In a way,” Sessions said. “I just have to go out and bring my ‘A’ game nightly.”
Sessions unselfishness is something he brought with him to Nevada out of high school. He’s always been a pass first, shoot second sort of guy. That is the stuff that point guards are made of. During his career, he was like a conductor leading an orchestra.
“That’s what a true point guard is all about,” said Bryan James, one of Milwaukee’s assistant coaches. “I like that about him. We have a lot of scorers at 2 (shooting guard) and 3 (small forward). We’re looking for a No. 1 that can get the ball to them.
“Larry K liked him when he was at Nevada. He’s the one that was really high on him; why we spent the second-round pick on him. He’s done a great job for us. It’s a long process. He’s having the time of his life. It’s basketball all the time, and he loves that. I think he has some potential.”
It’s possible that he could end up in the Developmental League, too. The Bucks’ D-League franchise is in Tulsa. If the Bucks like him enough, you can bet they will make every effort to keep him. Sessions signed a one-year contract, but it won’t be guaranteed unless he is on the roster on Jan. 1.
His work ethic has impressed his new head coach.
“He’s a great kid,” Krystkowiak said after the game. “He’s working his tail off. He’ll get there. You are only better with experience. He ran a program (at Nevada). That’s a large part of it (what we are looking for). I like his size. He’s a bigger point guard and he can score. He’s got that nice little floater in the lane and a good mid-range game. That’s one of the things he’s working hard on, and why he has the potential to stick around.”
Krystkowiak likes the fact that Sessions improved every year at Nevada, and he’s counting on that in terms of Sessions’ NBA progress.
And, Sessions is eager to learn the game the NBA way. He said that Williams has taken him under his wing and tutored him since he came to the Bucks.
“Mo said he was a second-round draft pick, and that nobody took him under their wing,” Sessions said. “He helps me. We talk about the game, and he’s taken me out to dinner.
“A lot of certain little things I’ve learned; that I didn’t know. You don’t have to come down and go fast all the time.”
One thing is certain, he seems to be comfortable in the professional setting. When he was asked to do a “bump” for Channel 8 after the game, he messed up a couple of times, and his new teammates gave him the business.
Sessions doesn’t mind. He knows it’s a sign of acceptance. So is the “hazing” he has to endure. Nothing bad, mind you.
“Going to get balls in the stands (during practice) or getting the veterans food on the plane,” Sessions said. “They said to expect something later on tonight (Wednesday). I’m looking forward to it.”
•Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1281