Fesenko Shines In Summer League Scrimmage
Gorgui Dieng was feeling a little under the weather and missed Wednesday night’s scrimmage at Target Center. That left the low post wide open and the 7-foot-1, 280-pound NBA journeyman Kyrylo Fesenko stole the show.
Fesenko, who’s played with the Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers during his NBA career, most recently played with the Canton Charge in the NBA D-League. He signed on for Summer League with the Wolves this season and if Wednesday night is any sort of indication, Fesenko could be a useful piece of the puzzle when the Wolves travel to Las Vegas from July 11-21.
Fesenko towered over the next tallest post defender Wednesday night and erupted for a game-high 21 points. He had a five-inch height advantage over Jordan Morgan, who defended him for most of the scrimmage, and made the most of his touches in the paint.
“I was surprised when Gorgui didn’t show up,” Fesenko said. “It was a little easier tonight, but I still think I did a tremendous job.”
The Ukrainian big man capped Wednesday’s scrimmage with a not very athletic, but extremely thunderous windmill dunk that brought a crowd of nearly 6,000 fans to its feet.
Wolves coach Flip Saunders noted Fesenko’s obvious mismatch in the post, but said even if Dieng played he’s not sure he could have stopped Fesenko.
“He’s so big, I don’t know if Gorgui could have even done much with that,” Saunders said. “It’s tough when a guy that big gets that deep.”
Saunders said while he was pleased with Fesenko’s play Wednesday night, he’s also been impressed with the way the big man has handled the intense Summer League practices.
“I think him just being able to go through the practices that we’ve done and be able to survive has been good to see,” Saunders said. “He’s also got great hands and can score around the basket. “
Fesenko said his relationship with Saunders goes back to earlier this year when he worked out for him back in January as he waited for his work visa to clears so he could play in the NBA D-League.
“He killed me in like 40 minutes and that’s when I realized conditioning was a must-have thing if I wanted to be on a roster,” Fesenko said. “We were talking [during the year] and now here I am.”
He said his prior relationship with Saunders played a key role in his decision to play for the Wolves during Summer League. Fesenko said he also had a relationship with Alexey Shved and liked the Minneapolis area.
“I just feel like it’s a good fit for me,” he said. “And for the Wolves.”