The Jan Vesely Diaries: ‘Washington has almost no skyscrapers’
[Editor’s Note: Lukas Kuba (@Luke_Mellow) has been TAI’s go-to for all things Jan Vesely/Czech Republic-related. Today, Lukas provides a translation from one of Vesely’s latest self-penned journals for the Czech website Pravo.newtonit.CZ, as well as from an older entry on the website Sport.CZ. Enjoy!]
Jan Vesely: Washington has almost no skyscrapers
April 14, 2012 via pravo.newtonit.cz
In the last two weeks, the coach returned me back to the starting lineup and gave me plenty of playing time on the court. I work hard 100-percent, so perhaps I deserve this chance. I try to fully utilize it and the game in Charlotte, where I picked up a double-double for points and rebounds, I consider it my best game in the whole season.
The practice on my shooting is paying off, I work on it constantly. As soon as I’m open, I shoot. With rebounding, I try to go vigorously after every ball under the basket, including offensive rebounds, and it produces benefits as well. But my role on the team remains the same.
The coach desires aggressiveness on offense and on defense from me, I have to bring in energy and quickness. I try to constantly work on myself, devoting enough time and diligence to it. I can’t think that I’m entitled to something, and I can’t even let up a bit. Otherwise, I’d not keep my current promising position. But I believe that in the latest period I stepped in the right direction.
As of Friday evening, we had 14 wins. Recently, we even managed to win two consecutive games this season. Nevertheless, our overall record is not such as what I expected before the season. I’d definitely presumed more wins out of 58 games. I was hoping, as well, that we could try fighting for the playoffs.
But we have a very young team and the advantage is that we can play together with the same roster for a long time. So that’s why I can imagine the future associated with the Wizards. Basketball amenities are great [in the Wizards organization], and Washington has a very pleasant feel to me. In contrast to other American cities, you won’t find almost any skyscrapers here. By its architecture and character, it reminds me of European metropolises. I live directly in the downtown, so I have everything I need in reach by walk.
I really go everywhere by foot; I can make it to our practice gym in ten minutes, even when I loiter. Basically, I don’t use any transportation, and that suits me. I’ve already seen various Washington monuments, and of course, I can’t leave out the White House. Every time when someone come to visit me, I go there with them. But I’d probably not set off there by myself.
Easter somehow went past me as well. I didn’t have anyone to properly celebrate it with or whip anybody [ED. NOTE: in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it is tradition on Easter morning for the men to spank or whip the women with a special, handmade whip called a pomlázka], so I just went on a walk. Well, actually, no! I celebrated by practicing, and I wish that you people have an opportunity every day to celebrate by doing what you like to do.
Jan Vesely: I don‘t cook, I eat at restaurants all the time
March 31, 2012 via Sport.CZ
We’re already significantly past the halfway mark of the regular season, so I feel the effects the NBA leaves on me. I had to change my game habits a lot. In Europe, I was being put in the lineup at the swingman position, here the coach uses me rather as a smaller pivot man. So I learned how to set the screens, and I was collecting fouls from them. Now I already know that I can’t even move a millimeter, otherwise the refs whistle.
Unusual for me was, too, that the defender can’t be longer than three seconds in the restricted area, and I have problems with the rule that players can’t tap the ball bouncing on the rim as well. Also, basketball in the [old] continent seemed easier to read to me. Overseas [United States] players are immensely good at the one-on-one game, and you never know what trick they are going to pull.
I still feel that I have to work on my shooting the most. I devote time [to shooting] individually every day for at least an hour. On game days, when we don’t practice, I go to shoot some even before the game. I try to shoot from all the spots on the floor, jumpers after short dribble or even shots coming off screens.
Due to the packed program of the condensed regular season, I don’t have much free time. When I don’t sleep, I spend my free time on the computer. But I’m not much into games. Most often I use Skype in order to get in touch with family and friends in the Czech Republic, and in Serbia as well. I don’t turn on TV much here. When I turn on the TV, it’s just for some television series I like to watch, and I relax while watching them.
In addition to basketball, I don’t have either thought or time for some complementary sport. We play virtually every other day and sometimes even back-to-backs, so I really have lots to do. That’s why I didn’t have a chance for jogging, so popular from American movies. When you say “food” in America, I guess everyone imagines slice of meat in the burger, but it’s not my favorite dish. The [Wizards] organization doesn’t provide food for us, and I don’t cook for myself, so I eat at various restaurants all the time. I choose a varied diet, but I admit without torture that I even had that hamburger once. However, not in some fast food place, but rather nicely served at the table and from quality ingredients.
We have April Fools’ Day on Sunday, and so far I didn’t try to find out if Americans observe customs like we do, pranking someone. Myself, I don’t prepare to prank anyone, but I will let it be a surprise; sometimes assistant coaches do funny things on purpose or devise jokes. So tomorrow, don’t allow someone to make a fool out of you!