Franklin Session is not the player or person he was during his university basketball days.
He admits to being young and having some growing up to do as he went from junior college to Weber State in Utah to Cal State in his native Los Angeles.
“Those two universities kind of moulded me,” he said before the Island Storm practice on Thursday. “The move from Weber State to Cal State LA kind of humbled me and made me realize I had some growing up to do.”
After Cal State, Session said he had to provide for his family and needed to get a job. He ended up as a manager for Verizon while playing against top-shelf talent in the Drew League in LA, one of the premier pro-am circuits.
“The whole time everybody was like, ‘Man, you can still play, you can still play,’ but it’s kind of hard giving up guaranteed money for a shot,” Session explained.
After two MVP seasons in the Drew, he is giving it a shot.
In fact, you can throw in a pass, a rebound and a smile with that shot, as he brings his well-rounded game to Charlottetown.
Session was one of the last cuts of the NBA G League’s South Bay Lakers this fall. He has come across the continent to pursue making a living playing the sport while providing for his family.
“Not making the G League team is not the end of the world for me,” the 28-year-old combo guard said.
He puts things in perspective.
He knows he was playing behind two guys with NBA experience at his position. He knows he scored 17 points in fewer than 20 minutes in a pre-season game with the Northern Arizona Suns. He also knows he has to improve his game.
“They have resumes. My resume is I was at Verizon. It’s not a negative. They have what they have, I still have things to work on,” he said.
“One of the things in my whole career was ‘he didn't have a background’. Yeah, he can play, but I didn't have a resume,” he added. “Nobody really wanted to take the chance, I’m glad the Island Storm did.”
And while some players who don't make the G League, a step away from the NBA and all the fame and fortune it comes with, can arrive at their next stop with a chip on their shoulder from being cut, Storm bench boss Tim Kendrick said that’s just not the case with Session.
“The thing that I really like the best from my short time (with him) is how unselfish he is and how much of a teammate he is,” he said.
Kendrick said life experience helps players adapt and be more professional as basketball players and in life.
Session said he used to lash out at referees, but his time in management has helped him deal with people differently and be a leader.
“It kind of helped me grow up — being a manager,” he said.
“There’s stuff (referees) do or say you don’t like, you’re going to kind of have to fester it up, let it marinate and then give a correct adult response.”
Kendrick said he knows a bit about Session’s background.
“He’s already helped me with my phone,” he laughed, before saying Session has brought the positive energy his teams always talk about.
“That’s his personality,” Kendrick said. “He’s an energy guy. He comes in, he’s verbal and he’s demonstrative in a positive way.”
Need to know
Who – A guard with the Island Storm.
Also known as – Frank Nitty.
Height, weight – Six-foot-two, 190 pounds.
Hometown – Los Angeles.
Self description – “Exciting. Frantic. 100 miles an hour. Athletic. For a point guard, I can get up and down the court.”
Coach Tim Kendrick said: Sessions is a very “explosive” player, who can really shoot the ball and score from multiple spots on the court. “He can put a bunch of points on you in a hurry.”
Did you know – This past summer, Session lit up the Drew League en route to a championship and his second MVP award. He scored 35 points in the championship game of a tournament that featured NBA stars James Harden, Chris Paul and DeMar DeRozan.
Coast to coast – Session said he is enjoying his time on the East Coast, but noted the temperature was the biggest difference. “I am not used to the cold,” he said. “I went and bought a ski mask.” Kendrick helped his players with the adaption to the cold weather by passing out Storm headwear on Toque Tuesday.