Sessions, Fazekas Bring Wolf Pack Connection to Tulsa
By Brian Martin, D-League.com
Both players entered the 2007 NBA Draft and were selected in the second round - Fazekas to the Dallas Mavericks with the 34th overall pick and Sessions to the Milwaukee Bucks with the 56th overall pick.
After summer league play and training camp, it came time for NBA teams finalize their rosters and Fazekas and Sessions were both assigned to the D-League to play with the Tulsa 66ers.
“On draft day I saw that Milwaukee and Dallas were assigned to the same D-League team and I knew there was a chance we’d be playing together,” said Sessions. “Here it is and we’re taking advantage of it.”
Having played together for three years at Nevada, Sessions and Fazekas had a familiarity with each other’s games that is rare to find in the D-League.
“This is the fourth year that we’ve played together now. We’ve just kind of got that relationship on the court,” said Fazekas. “It plays to my advantage to have Ramon out there, constantly looking for me and understanding how I play. If there’s anyone that I’ve played with that understands how I play, then it’s definitely Ramon.”
The chemistry was evident during Tulsa’s 94-79 win over Albuquerque on Wednesday at the D-League Showcase. Sessions was one rebound shy of posting a triple-double as he finished with 15 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in 36 minutes off the bench. Fazekas also posted a double-double with 17 points and 12 a game-high 12 rebounds.
“You saw some passes tonight that I don’t think any two guys would have made if they hadn’t played together for a long time like they have,” said Tulsa coach Joey Meyer.
Meyer has cautioned Fazekas and particularly Sessions - his point guard - not to rely so much on their ability to play off of each other.
“One thing they have to be a little conscious of is that they know each other, but they have to make sure they include everyone else,” said Meyer. “That’s taken a while to try to adjust to, we know each other well, but I also have to know the rest of my team.”
The bond between Fazekas and Sessions also extends off of the hardwood. The two were roommates the past three years at Nevada and are currently next door neighbors in Tulsa.
“It’s great off the court; that’s probably the biggest plus,” said Sessions. “We don’t know the other guys as well, so off the court we’re always together, just like in college. It’s like college all over again.”
One thing that is not the same as it was in college is the level of competition they are facing on a daily basis. Fazekas said that is one of the biggest adjustments he’s had to make since arriving in the D-League.
“You just have to come here and play every night. Nothing is going to be given away in the (NBA) or in the D-League,” he said. “It was a little bit different in college. It was a little bit easy for me and I think it was easy for a lot of these guys. When you come out here now, everyone comes to play, everyone’s right on your back.”
Meyer is pleased with the progress he has seen out of his two NBA assignees and believes they both have benefited greatly from their time spent in Tulsa.
“Where would they get these kind of minutes? They’re both averaging over 30 minutes a game and I think this is a great experience,” said Meyer. “I forget myself when I coach them that they are rookies. I keep thinking they are NBA guys that are assigned down, but they are rookies. They’ve never played the NBA game before. They are learning the NBA game. Ramon and Nick both have very high basketball IQs and I think this experience will help them.”
The 66ers have won five straight games as they near a .500 record at 9-10. Sessions leads the 66ers in both scoring (20.1) and assists (6.7), while Fazekas leads the team in rebounding (9.1) and is a close second to Sessions in scoring (18.0).
As much as the former Nevada teammates enjoy their time together on and off the court, they know that in order to realize their NBA dream, they will most likely have to finally split up.
“It would be a little bit of a bummer, but that’s both of our goals,” said Fazekas. “I’m cheering for Ramon and Ramon’s cheering for me. It may change what we do off the court for the one stays here, but so far so good. We’ve been down here for two months and we think we might be able to stay down here until April.”