The Warrior

Athlete of the Issue: Nicholas Fazio

Fazio+being+introduced+at+the+Green+and+Gold+Game+on+November+17th.+%0A
Fazio being introduced at the Green and Gold Game on November 17th.

Fazio being introduced at the Green and Gold Game on November 17th.

Photo by Roman Treuthatrt

Photo by Roman Treuthatrt

Fazio being introduced at the Green and Gold Game on November 17th.

By Kaja Romanowski, Reporter

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He is running down the court, driving to the basket for the score, and suddenly his legs fly out from under him and all he knows is the excruciating pain striking through his leg as he lies on the ground. This is what happened to Nicholas Fazio when he tore his ACL last year.

In September of 2016, Fazio, Div. 869, was playing in a fall league basketball game at Quest Multisport Complex when he tore his ACL and both menisci. This was heartbreaking news for his team; in just two months he was expected to be the starting point guard on varsity as a junior.

“I remember scoring eight or so points and feeling like I was on fire,” Fazio said, recalling the earlier moments of the game.

This injury resulted in Fazio missing the entire 2016-2017 basketball season, which had not even begun yet. His surgery soon followed in October, which would start his long road to recovery.

A week following the surgery, he began physical therapy. This injury was not only taking a toll on Fazio physically, but mentally as well.

“This injury is way more than just physical,” Fazio said. “One of the strongest battles I consistently have is one within myself.”

After about a week of physical therapy, he was able to walk without crutches. Three months later, he was able to jog. After about six months, he was successful in regaining basic motions such as jumping, cutting and pivoting. Ten long months later, he was finally able to begin playing basketball again.

And now, a year later, he is back on the court.

Excited and relieved to be playing again, he rejoined his team at the start of the 2017-2018 season. It began with the Green and Gold game held Nov. 17 at Lane.

I have been pushing myself as hard as I can to get back to the place I was before the injury,” Fazio said.

Matthew Villanueva, an assistant coach on the varsity team, has witnessed Fazio’s progress this past year.

“It’s exciting to see him pick up right where he left off on the defensive side of the ball,” Villanueva said. “Once he regains his basketball instincts fully and becomes more comfortable on the court, he’ll be back to his old self in no time.”  

Fazio was not only valued as a defensive player, but also played a vital role in the team’s communication and leadership before his injury. This expectation has not changed; the team and coaches expected nothing less of him getting back in the game.

And according to Villanueva, he has not let them down.           

When he speaks, his teammates listen and this trait carries itself over onto the court during practice and in games,”  Villanueva said. “Being a senior carries a lot of weight and we expect him to lead this team all year long.”

Fazio says he looks forward to excelling in areas that defined him as a basketball player.

“I’m aiming to improve my defensive quickness and passing, as well as limiting my turnovers this season,” Fazio said.

Teammate Calvin Keyes, Div. 877, has been playing alongside Fazio since their freshman year.

“Nick was definitely missed last year,” says Keyes. “I love that he is finally back; he brings a certain energy to the gym each day that is hard to match.”

As the season goes on, little by little Fazio has been playing more minutes each game. He has been adapting to the team’s rhythm and adjusting to the tempo of the game.

“It’s feels great to finally be back in doing what I love,” Fazio said.

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Athlete of the Issue: Nicholas Fazio