When some Utah Jazz fans last saw him Kyrylo Fesenko was leaving exit interviews with a pink cast protecting his thumb, which was injured in practice (by Paul Millsap). It happened at a bad time for Fes because he was actually playing much better than before, and had been building some career momentum after his "Big Teddy Bear Kitty Cat" game vs. Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Fes finished the season on the injured list, but seemed to be dedicated towards being a professional.
He played this summer for his native Ukraine (Ukrainia?) and sustained another injury, which really hurt his value as a free agent bigman. He was off the radar while he healed and he was ALMOST signed by the Houston Rockets (for like the 3rd year in a row) and Boston Celtics. For the record, he seems to have had good games against both teams in his career as a Jazz player. (Which is like the reverse LHM free agent theory) After Jeff Foster had to call it a career the Pacers were in the market for a big guy. They signed the, arguably, biggest guy on the market in Fesenko.
He played in his first game of the season last night. And as the sole remaining share holder in Fesenkorp Industries, I couldn't help by watch and re-watch his stunning 7 minutes of garbage time action last night.
To get a blow by blow breakdown, click on that there link below!
Fesenko Make Active Roster!
- 4th quarter: 6:58 -- Checks into the game
- 6:52 -- man, he is really large. you forget how big he is, he dwarfs the guy he's up against, Cleveland Cavaliers Samardo Samuels (who is 260, and 6'9)
- 6:45 -- he's super active around the rim, disrupting a sure defensive board (two CLE dudes boxed him out) after a Dahntay Jones (IND) miss, he keeps it alive, and Tyler Hansbrough (IND) gets it
- 6:42 -- comes over to give 'daps' to Handbrough for making a free throw
- 6:41 -- Cavs TV guys are gushing over his size. He actually looks like he worked out on his upper body for once
- 6:33 -- Samardo tries to post up, ends up finally getting the ball "posting up" 11 feet from the basket. He pivots on left foot and faces Fesenko up. He drives, Fes stays with him and bumps him a bit on the drive and contests the awkward shot running across the paint. Samardo passes off to a cutter mid shot, and cutter misses. Fes gets the uncontested rebound. Being able to bump guys more is going to help, now that he's in the Eastern Conference.
- 6:18 -- Fesenko makes a good cut and instinctively calls for the ball, despite you and me and him knowing that if he ever got the ball where he was he couldn't finish. But God love him for always calling for the ball.
- 6:14 -- ball rotates around to D.Jones, who beats his man and drives -- pulling in Fes' man. Jones dumps pass off to Fes who only has Omri Casspi to beat.He goes up . . . and there's too many buzzard around him and he loses the ball during the shot. Sure, there was a foul there, but this is Eastern Conf ball. No call, play goes on. Fes doesn't whine, he puts his head down and steamrolls back on defense.
- 6:06 -- Cavs TV crew talking about how Fes is already a crowd favorite, as they continue to boo the non-call
- 6:04 -- Fes picks up his man, who just got his ball close to the basket, who is forced to pass it out to Luke Walton for three, who makes it (this is a good frame of reference for just how much garbage is in this garbage time)
- 5:36 -- Samardo posts up Fes, can't back him down (shocker), tries to spin baseline and Fes' pressure D makes Samardo dribble off of his foot and the ball goes out of bounds. Maybe it was mostly Samardo's lack of post moves, but part of it was not being able to go to his pet moves of turning into the basket. Part of being a good post defender is being able to take away what the guy you defends likes to do. Fes did that here by being unmovable. (And for the record, I've seen like 10 Cavs games this year, so I kind of know what Samardo wants to do)
- 5:15 -- Fesenko sneaks inside as defensive pressure focuses on Psycho T, he has a mouse in the house on him, they don't pass to him. He rotates to the other side of the post and posts up. But still no pass comes. Price (IND) shoots a jumper and makes it.
- 4:49 -- Post up to Samardo AGAIN, this time he's only 4 feet from the basket as he got the ball on a cut. Fes challenges, changes shot, and then gets the contested rebound as Cavs crash the boards. Fes throws dem bows a bit.
- 4:38 -- Fes runs hard from the fast break he started with the good d, and rebound, and outlet -- and when the Pacer team mate blows the shot he hustles to the glass and prevents another easy defensive rebound attempt for the Cavs. Cavs eventually gain possession as no other Indiana play is playing as hard as Fes is right now. (If Fes was a little faster it would have been a rebound dunk for Fes -- crowd ooohs)
- 4:12 -- Cavs TV guys talking about how there should be a Kyrylo Fesenko bobble head night
- 3:58 -- great team defense by Fesenko as he understands how to play a pick and roll, his man isn't even the roll man, but he picks up the Cavs guard as he gets into the paint. Fes goes up (straight up, no foul) with arms extended. Manny Harris (CLE) misses the layup badly. No one helps the helper so Fes' man (Samardo) gets the offensive rebound. Fes recovers as Samardo gathers, and he challenges Samardo's layup. Fesenko called for the foul. And he makes the "Whaat? I never did nuthink!" face and hand gesture. Fans irate at the call. Man, gotta love home fans who fall in love with their goofy benchwarmers. (Fes did foul him, clearly.)
- Cavs broadcast shows a highlight clip of Fesenko (?)
- 3:39 -- pretty much the same play were Dahntay drives baseline and flips it off to Fes infront of the basket. Only Omri to beat again. Fes is fouled and nearly throws down the Shaq like dunk. Crowd going nuts. Fes is going to the free throw line. He gives a fist pound to Psycho T. (Btw, those two guys are going to end up in jail this off-season, for like stealing candy)
- Fesenko makes the first FT, then misses the next. Good hustle by Pacers gets the ball back.
- 3:04 -- Cavs passing it around, and Fesenko (years of being in Flex) anticipates a pass that's from one guy (not his man), to a back cutting guy (also not his man), and gets his big bear paw on it and tips the pass (+1 deflection please). Of course, no Indy guy is there to pick up the sure steal -- so ball gets back to Cavs. Casspi shoots a three while Fes returns to box out his man. Casspi misses, and Fes gets a solid board because of the good (average?) BBALL IQ he finally seems to have.
- 2:54 -- Fes in transition sets a great screen above three point line, and frees up his team mate to dribble penetrates, somehow this play becomes a Phoenix Suns like Leandro Barbosa three pointer. (Yes, he's on the Pacers now)
- 2:36 -- Good show on the pick and roll by Fesenko dissuades penetration
- 2:24 -- Good boxout on Samardo again, Samardo being really physical and Fes taking it, shrugging it off. Fes gets the board, flips it to a guard. (Somehow this board not registered -- I guess they called it a team rebound in the box score). This triggers another fast break and alley oop jam. No, not to Fes.To Jeff Pendergraph. Yeah. Garbage time.
- 2:06 -- Poor pick and roll defense results in Cavs PG penetrating on Fesenko (not the man in the pick and roll, but the help defender), Fes closes out hard -- dude misses. If you have access to mySynergySports scouting, check out Fes' close outs from last season. One of the best at it in the league. Not making that up either, very few guys made their shot with him running at them.
- 1:53 -- Pacers actually get the ball the Fes when he posts up on Samardo. His signature two to three power dribbles like Shaq and sweeping right hook shot. Also like Shaq, hacked as last defense as he moved Samardo back 3 feet with his backing down power dribbles. Going to the line again. Cavs color commentary guy is just going nuts right now. "Dude looks 400 pounds easy, especially with how thick he is . . . "
- 1:49 -- Fesenko with the near swish on the first free throw. Misses the second. (Rims out)
- 1:40 -- Samardo really wants it back, doing Matt Harpring 'woos' to get attention from his guards. Guards not passing it to him. Fes boxes out Samardo on Walton's missed three, but a Pacer player boxes out Fes (garbage time), Cavs recover the ball.
- 1:33 -- Ball rotates to Casspi 5 feet from the basket, Fesenko challenges, Casspi misses badly. No Pacers there to board, so ball goes back to Cavs. Second guy makes shot attempt and Fes challenges his shot, but guy makes it by putting it high off the glass, and in.
- 1:19 -- Fes pins his man and if anyone could throw a lob pass to him, it would be an easy two. Samardo fronting Fesenko and there's 6 feet of space between Fes and the open rim. No one passes it to him though. Guards just want to shoot all the time in this league now . . .
- Everything else was really bad garbage time. Like, no teams doing anything, sloppy play, essentially Morris Almond time.
Kyrylo Fesenko finished the game going 0/1, but 2/4 from the free throw line . . . . and tallying up 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 foul in 7 minutes of action. He made his man miss a lot of shots and he used his body appropriately for a man of his size. And he hustled when he was on the court. That's exactly what you want from your 5th big. And for his price, he's still a steal. (I know, I did the math on it and posted it months ago)
Great job Fes. Keep it up, and I'll drive down from Detroit to catch a Pacers home game in the playoffs!