LEHI The Utah Jazz are off on their first multi-game road trip of the season it begins tonight at 5 (MST) at the Toronto Raptors with stops Friday at Cleveland and Saturday at Indiana.
And the Jazz's promising 20-year-old second-round draft pick Kyrylo Fesenko, the 7-footer from Ukraine, is not with them.
"So?" said Fesenko, a fan and media favorite for his sense of humor as well as what he could eventually mean to Jazz fortunes.
Fesenko was spending his fourth day as a member of the Orem-based Utah Flash, the Jazz's NBA Development League affiliate that was holding its media day Tuesday at Open Court in Lehi.
Fesenko, who has said from the first day he got to Utah that he would not mind doing time in the D-League, got tired of reiterating that so many times Tuesday.
"I want to play in D-League and to be here, to get enough of game time to adjust to American basketball," he said. "I repeat it 100 time, I am not upset about it.
"I glad to be here. What can be better than to have enough of game time and a guaranteed contract with the NBA?"
He plans to be with the Flash for some time. He has no timetable from Jazz brass about when he might be recalled. "When Coach (Jerry) Sloan decide that I am ready," he said.
"But I want to win the championship of the D-League. I will do everything what I can to win this championship."
Fesenko agrees with Sloan that he's not ready for the NBA, "Because, as I see, right now, I cannot beat Memo (Okur) on the court. I (need to) do a lot of practicing and a lot of time spending in the weight room and (gaining) a lot of experience."
He welcomes the chance to play for the Flash, who open their inaugural season Nov. 24 at the Anaheim Arsenal. The home opener is Nov. 27 with the Dakota Wizards at Utah Valley State's McKay Events Center.
"Here, I get experience, I get the weight room, and I have game time."
Fesenko said he feels comfortable with the Flash, who run the same system as the Jazz as coach Brad Jones is a nephew of Sloan's late wife Bobbye and has spent much time at Jazz camps learning from Sloan. Fesenko said he's already trying to help his new teammates learn Jazz/Flash ball.
Fesenko met with Sloan and Jazz executive vice president of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor Saturday before joining the Flash, and Sloan told him to work "on my conditioning, about my vision on the court, some small tips," said Fesenko, who is living in a Provo hotel during the Flash's two-a-days. He will move back to his Salt Lake digs once the double-days are done, and someone will drive him to Flash responsibilities until he can qualify for a driver's license and get a car.10 comments on this story
Fesenko has no family here yet but will send for his mother once he receives his work visa, which may take as much as a month or two. "But I have a lot of support here. I have Russian-speaking friends (and) young guys from the Utah Jazz C.J. Miles, Ronnie Brewer, Paul Millsap, Morris Almond. They just don't give me the time to be bored." Andrei Kirilenko, a Russian, and Gordan Giricek, a Croatian, speak Russian with Fesenko. His native language is Ukrainian, but conversing in Russian is a welcome substitute.
He eats many of his meals at home, where a chef prepares things for him. When someone from the Flash asked Fesenko what Ukrainians eat, his reply was a playful slam along the lines of, "Worms and short men who ask annoying questions."When Fesenko wants to eat out, it's Denny's, the 24-hour place, not Market Street or Spencer's or some other upscale eatery. "I like Denny's because I love eggs, and when I know that I can eat eggs all day long, I was really surprised, and I'm already love Denny's," Fesenko said. "It is healthy. It's not fast food, so everything is good."