Sessions a little closer to home

Raymond Sessions runs the offense for the Charlotte Bobcats against the New Orleans Hornets at an NBA exhibition game at the North Charleston Coliseum on Thursday October 11, 2012. (Wade Spees/

Charlotte Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions knows it’ll be a long time before he plays this close to home again.

Sessions, a Myrtle Beach native, played in a professional basketball game Thursday in the state of South Carolina for the first time in his career.

Something that he thought would never happen when he played at Myrtle Beach High School.

The fact that it was an NBA exhibition game didn’t matter to Sessions.

With more than two dozen family and friends in attendance, Sessions played his normal, steady, solid floor game for the Bobcats.

“It felt great to play a professional game in South Carolina,” Sessions said. “Honestly, growing up in Myrtle Beach, I didn’t think something like this would ever be possible. So, I had a great time just being out there playing.”

Sessions finished with 11 points and two assists. It wasn’t enough, however, for the Bobcats, as Brian Roberts scored 16 points to lead New Orleans past Charlotte, 90-87, before and announced crowd of 6,596 at the North Charleston Coliseum.

The final score didn’t seem to matter to Sessions after the game.

“It’s just a preseason game,” he said. “We’re just trying to find the right combinations. I thought we showed some good things tonight. I think we’re going to surprise some people this season.”

After Wednesday morning’s practice at the College of Charleston, Sessions was able to do something he hasn’t done in a while: drive home to Myrtle Beach and spend the rest of the day with his extended family. With an 82-game NBA schedule on the horizon, Sessions knows it might be a while before he gets back to the Grand Strand.

“The season gets so hectic that I never know when I’m going to get any time to get back home,” Sessions said. “I wanted to take advantage of it while I was down here, and I was able to see everyone I wanted. It made this trip a lot of fun.”

Sessions, who played collegiately at Nevada, is a five-year veteran of the NBA having played in Milwaukee, Minnesota, Cleveland and for the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of last season. Sessions said he signed with the Bobcats to get closer to home.

“That had a lot to do with it,” Sessions said. “I wanted to be nearer my family and Charlotte isn’t too far away.”

Charlotte head coach Mike Dunlap hopes that Sessions can mentor some of the younger players.

“He’s a consummate professional and you can’t have too many of those on your team,” Dunlap said. “He can shoot, play good defense and he pushes the ball up the floor. We’re happy to have him.”

The game was sloppy even by preseason standards.

Anthony Davis, the top-pick in June’s NBA draft, was the featured attraction and finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and one block, in almost 30 minutes of action. Davis did not play in the final quarter.

Charlotte was led by Byron Mullens and Ben Gordon, who each had 15 points and Gerald Henderson added 11 for the Bobcats.