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News » Sloan wants Fesenko in better shape

Sloan wants Fesenko in better shape

Sloan wants Fesenko in better shape After missing the last two games due to flu-like symptoms, the Jazz expect starting center Mehmet Okur to return for tonight's game against the Detroit Pistons. If he does, backup Kyrylo Fesenko will be headed back to the bench. With Okur out, the 7-foot-1 Fesenko played 19 minutes in Wednesday night's win over Toronto and 11 in Thursday's victory at San Antonio. Yet Jazz coach Jerry Sloan feels strongly the 22-year-old is capable of contributing more.

"Everybody wants to play, but you've got to pay the price to get in shape," said Sloan, who added after the Raptors game that Fesenko "couldn't catch the ball after he got tired." "He's got to be able to stay with it and work harder and get in a little bit better shape so he can get more playing time," the Jazz coach added. "He can be a factor, as big as he is. ... But he's got to have that kind of play all the time." It's often a fine line between effective contribution and negative return when it comes to the big Ukrainian, but Sloan doesn't feel he should have to toe it. "I can't worry about overextending him. He's got to learn to overextend himself," the Jazz coach said in San Antonio. "Otherwise, he's never going to get past that stage of saying, 'I'm tired.' And that's what we've fought since he's been here, is he gets tired and then the effort runs out. "If ... he can't push himself above that, then he's probably not gonna get any better." Just how hard goes Sloan want Fesenko to push himself? To the max, evidently. "I've yet to see a guy push himself hard enough," he said, "that he's passed out on the floor." Fesenko ? who readily admits he can stand to get in better shape ? had two assists and a steal but no points and just one rebound against the Spurs. "He has talent," Sloan said. "He's just got to learn to push himself harder." HOME SWEET HOME: The Jazz are early in a stretch with 11 of 14 games at home, and tonight's meeting with the Pistons marks the start of a cushy six-games-in-14-nights homestand that also includes visits from Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, Chicago on Thanksgiving night, Portland next Saturday night, Memphis on Nov. 30 and ? after a three-night break ? Indiana on Dec. 4. "It's a huge stretch for us, right," point guard Deron Williams added, "especially because we've already lost two games at home." With two wins strung together for the first time this season and three victories in their last four outings, the Jazz have something to build from. Whether or not they take advantage, however, remains to be seen. "It's up to them to come and play," Sloan said. "I hope they come and play hard every night, because I think we have a chance to win if they can do that and try to play together. "We've done a better job of trying to share the Basketball," he added. "I think that's the big thing. Guys are making an extra pass. To start the season, we didn't do that. Everybody shot for their life, and when you do that it's hard to win." HMMM: The Jazz's game against Oklahoma City on Tuesday has been picked for airing on NBA TV. The Jazz -Thunder game won 45 percent of the vote on, where fans get to pick which game will be carried on the league's own national cable network. Among the games that Utah vs. Oklahoma City beat out: the New York Knicks at the Los Angeles Lakers. e-mail:

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Added: November 22, 2009


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