There was a specific moment, prior to the start of the season, when Cody Parrent knew his team was in good hands.
It came not long after Bryant Colon, aka WoLF 74, arrived in Indianapolis as the highest-profile member of Pacers Gaming during an annual Pacers Sports & Entertainment summit, featuring the organization’s three franchises – Pacers, WNBA’s Fever and G League’s Mad Ants.
Now, Pacers Gaming was being introduced to the company as the fourth franchise. Parrent, the Director of Esports Operations for Pacers Gaming, asked WoLF, the team’s first-round selection, if he would be comfortable saying a few words on behalf of the newest team.
“He was like ‘of course, let’s do it,’” Parrent said. “He was pumped. He went up there in front of the entire company and represented us beautifully. He was gracious, he made sure to say thanks to everyone who had been working hard behind the scenes to get this off the ground. He represented his teammates well.
“It was then and there I knew we had a good one.”
That feeling carried over to the basketball court, as well, and it’s the reason Parrent felt so comfortable making another hefty request of WoLF. A request that has saved Pacers Gaming’s season.
Following a promising start in the season-opening THE TIPOFF, which included going 3-1 in the “Group of Death” to advance to the tournament quarterfinals, Pacers Gaming fell flat on their face. While experimenting with some lineup tweaks in hopes of finding the right formula, they opened the regular season with four consecutive losses and were the league’s lone team without a win.
Then came the big question. WoLF, a standout two-way player at small forward, was asked by Parrent if he would step up and become the point guard, assuming responsibilities as the team’s floor general and leader. The answer was a resounding yes.
“I love it,” WoLF said. “I love being in control. The game’s in my hands. That’s what I signed up for.”
It’s one thing for him to be embracing his new role, but the results speak for themselves. Pacers Gaming have thrived since the switch, showing a renewed energy that was lacking during their 0-4 stretch.
They have won three straight games with WoLF calling the shots, climbing out of the basement of the standings to position themselves in the thick of the postseason hunt. They currently sit one game out of eighth and final playoff berth entering their Week 8 matchup against 76ers Gaming.
“The guys bought in immediately,” Parrent said. “They knew something wasn’t clicking, and we were searching for three or four weeks there at the beginning. Once we came into practice that week, we made the change, and immediately we could see the difference.”
Pacers Gaming had originally drafted vGooner-, one of the the top players in Europe, in the fourth round to be the starting point guard. The team wasn’t able to get into a rhythm offensively with him as the primary ball handler, so Gooner made the sacrifice to move off the ball with WoLF taking over at the point.
“I’m just a more vocal person compared to Gooner,” said WoLF, who is averaging 17.3 points and 13.3 assists since the switch. “He’s a more relaxed personality, laid back. I’m more of a in-your-face, vocal-type person. I think that translate well, especially being a point guard, you need to be a leader, you need to be vocal. And that’s the biggest difference.”
By the time he was drafted with the 13th overall pick, WoLF’s name was already a household one in the NBA 2K community. Known for his ability to lock down opposing players with smothering defense, he was thought by many observers to be one of the top two-way players in the game.
His star had risen over the past year when he joined forces with soon-to-be Mavs Gaming point guard Dimez. The duo teamed up on Breakout Gaming, a squad that became a “dynasty,” as WoLF puts it, winning multiple online tournament titles.
WoLF was at the time balancing his professional 2K aspirations with his college workload as a Computer Science major at St. Joseph College in Brooklyn. Following the 2K League Draft, he was still wrapping up some final assignments upon relocating to Indianapolis ahead of the upcoming season. He officially obtained his degree in May.
“I promised my parents I would get my degree no matter what happens with the league, whether I made it or not,” he said. “And it’s a promise I fulfilled. It just feels great to have the degree now. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders.”
The support of his family has extended to the 2K League. Having grown up in Queens, N.Y., the weekly trips to the league studio in nearby Long Island are a homecoming of sorts for WoLF, with his family just 20 minutes away. The proximity has allowed the Colon family to attend live games, becoming ardent fans of the boys in blue and gold.
“My family comes deep every weekend,” WoLF said. “They’re always rocking Pacers Gaming gear and supporting us every week. That means a lot ot me and the whole team. Hearing them cheer us on behind us, I feed off that, and the team does as well. It’s just great to have them there.”
The family has had much to cheer about during Pacers Gaming’s recent winning streak, which is currently tied for the longest active streak in the league. And it all can be pinpointed to a pretty significant change of positions.
“He’s the first one in, he’s the last one out, every single day,” said Parrent of WoLF. “I couldn’t be happier with our first pick.”
Neither could WoLF and the rest of his Pacers Gaming teammates.
“These three wins have been great,” WoLF said. “We got our swag back.”