WAC notebook: Fazekas may have gone in first | NevadaAppeal.com

WAC notebook: Fazekas may have gone in first

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

The NBA Draft has come and gone, and you have to wonder whether Nevada’s Nick Fazekas would have been drafted in the first round after all.

At least one coach – San Jose State’s George Nessman – believes that the 6-11 Fazekas was one of the top 30 players in the country and would have been a No. 1 selection had he not withdrawn.

Nessman pointed out that a lot of foreign players were drafted this year, and in some cases, the players aren’t close to being ready for the NBA.

“It’s a way of getting rights to a player and not having to pay him (right away),” Nessman said.

Louisiana Tech’s Paul Millsap, the lone Western Athletic Conference player that stayed in the draft, was the 47th player taken. He went to the Utah Jazz. Several Internet sites had Millsap going in the first round.

“What I’m hearing is that he didn’t perform well at some of the workouts and in Florida,” Nessman said. “I think he will be a good pro. He has a unique gift.”

Nessman was referring to Millsap’s rebounding ability. The 6-8 250-pounder averaged more than 12 rebounds per game, and was one of the best in the country on the offensive glass.

• Louisiana Tech is famous for its non-conference football schedules.

Two years ago, the Bulldogs played Miami, Auburn and Tennessee in a three-week span. All the games paid big bucks which is what the financially strapped Bulldogs needed at the time.

The Bulldogs are back at it again this year. They open the season at Nebraska, host Nicholls State the following week and then are on the road for games at Texas A & M and Clemson.

“It’s certainly not easy,” said Tech coach Jack Bicknell during a telephone interview last week. “Thirteen games and eight of them are away. We really only play four games at home because we play one at Shreveport.”

What makes it even tougher for the Bulldogs is that they lost nine defensive starters from last year’s squad.

“No question about it,” Bicknell admitted. “We’re more inexperienced. We’ve signed some junior college guys that I’m hoping can help us right away.”

Bicknell also has moved running backs Weldon Brown and Mark Dillard over to the defensive unit.

‘Mark didn’t go through spring drills,” Bicknell said. “The only concern is whether he can pick it up quick enough.”

Bicknell hopes Dillard is quick enough to play strong safety. If that’s not the case, he could be moved to outside linebacker.

• Here’s a rundown on recent Nevada baseball standouts currently in professional baseball.

Shawn Scobee, who is with the Blue Jays’ short-season Single-A team, is hitting .222 with two RBIs and seven strikeouts in 18 at-bats as of last week.

Tim Schoeninger, who was drafted by the Angels is pitch in the Arizona State Rookie League. He has thrown 3 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and one walk, and is 0-0 thus far.

Two stars from last year’s squad – Jacob Butler and Brett Hayes – are both in Single-A ball. Butler is hitting .198 for the Lansing Lugnuts with seven homers and 41 RBI. He has fanned 73 times in 227 at-bats, however.

Hayes is playing in the South Atlantic League with the Greensboro Grasshoppers, an affiliate with the Florida Marlins. He’s hitting .250 with four homers and 13 RBI.

Chris Gimenez also is playing in the South Atlantic League with the Lake County Captains, a Cleveland affiliate. He’s hitting .237 and has been converted to a full-time catcher.

• Reggie Theus, New Mexico State basketball coach, lost two players due to the recent APR findings which chart academic progress and longevity, yet he continues to sign players.

Theus brought in four transfers who sat out last year, and he’s signed two new players since the season ended.

As a result, Theus has removed Shon Caston, Ted Knauber and Shaun Davis from scholarship. According to reports, Knauber stayed with the program, but the other two have left.

• WAC commissioner Karl Benson said that the new bowl game in Albuquerque, which will be a Mountain West-WAC match-up, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 23 at the University of New Mexico.

• Even though it was announced last year, Benson said that instant replay will be used this season.

The schools are required to have some type of message board, and that the each school must give the replay official and his assistants an enclosed, private room during the game.

The commissioner indicated that Nevada had already eliminated and cleared out one of its luxury boxes.

Benson said the replay official will be a retired college or pro official, and that the second official in the booth could be a local official or even a WAC official not working that weekend.