Sports

Eilertson Italy-bound with NBC basketball team

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

Thomas Jefferson High School senior-to-be Derek Eilertson will join 22 other players from Washington, Oregon, Montana, California, Idaho, Canada and England on a 15-day trip to Northern Italy.

The tour will kick off Tuesday and run through July 18. The trip is being run by NBC Camps, which is based out of Spokane.

NBC Camps have been around since 1971 and strive to train basketball players for success on and off the court. The players selected to attend the Italian tour are regarded as some of the best in the West.

But Eilertson won’t be the only member of the NBC contingent in Italy with allegiance to TJ. The two coaches of the teams are both well-known around Federal Way. Fred Fazio and his son, John, will join Eilertson in Italy.

Fred Fazio, 52, has coached youth sports in the Federal Way area for more than 20 years, from Steel Lake Little League to AAU basketball.

John Fazio, who will serve as the head coach on the Italy trip, graduated from Thomas Jefferson, where he played basketball. He currently lives in Spokane and works for NBC Camps.

“This is my first international tour and first time traveling overseas,” John Fazio said. “I’m so thankful to have, what looks like, a great group of young men to do it with.”

Another reason the Fazios signed on to coach the team on the tour is their Italian heritage.

“He is so excited about this trip,” John Fazio said about his father. “In his lifetime, he has only daydreamed about the opportunity to travel to Italy.”

Eilertson led the Raiders in scoring during their 4-16 season. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard averaged 12.4 points and was lethal from behind the 3-point line.

Eilertson attempted 137 total shots on the season, and 101 were from 3-point range. He also led TJ by shooting 75.5 percent from the free-throw line. He was a first-team, All-City selection by The Mirror.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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