Who The Heck Is Tomas Satoransky? | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Who The Heck Is Tomas Satoransky?

Updated: June 15, 2012

[Editor’s Note: Jan Vesely’s fellow Czech Republic native, Tomas Satoransky, worked out with the Wizards today. Thusly, Lukas Kuba (@Luke_Mellow), TAI’s correspondent for all things Vesely/Czech Republic-related, has filed a background report on Satoransky, as well as a translation of a recent interview Satoransky had with the Czech media. I attended the media access portion of  his Wizards workout on Friday and interviewed Satoransky afterward. So, more to come on that. —Kyle W.]


On Friday, the Washington Wizards worked out Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky), Austin Rivers (Duke), Terrence Ross (Washington), and Tomas Satoransky (Czech Republic). You might ask yourself, who the eff is that last guy?! I’m here to save you.

I watched Satoransky play ball since he was a teen in the top Czech professional basketball league (NBL, Národní Basketbalová Liga). Tomas is a 1991 Prague-born player who appears ready for the 2012 NBA Draft after two years in the ACB (Spanish League). He was also the youngest to ever play in the Czech league and for the Czech National Team. Satoransky is very talented guard who possesses standout athletic ability by European standards. (He was a two-time Slam Dunk Contest champion while playing in the NBL, and he also won the ACB League Slam Dunk Contest in 2010.)

“Saty” is a play-maker with excellent size at 6-foot-7, and most coaches laud him as a hard-worker. Many scouts have also noticed his excellent feel for the game, and I believe in time Satoransky can become a valuable backup point guard in the NBA. Plus, with his size, he can play some off-guard as well. In ACB League, his above average court vision allowed him to regularly find teammates cutting to the rim. Personally, Satoransky impressed me with his footwork and coordination on the floor. He’s known for his winning spirit, and he’s a great team player.

Of course, there are weaknesses… Satoransky’s perimeter shooting consistency needs much improvement. Moreover, he needs to bulk up, as he’s quite thin and some wonder if he’d be a liability on the defensive side of the floor in trying to check speedy NBA point guards. I know I’m biased, but hopefully the Wizards draft Satoransky with one of their second round picks (32 or 46), so that he can create an exciting Czech duo with his close buddy Jan Vesely.

[Note: at the pre-Draft Combine in Chicago, Satoransky’s measurements: height – 6’6.5″; height with shoes – 6’7.5″; standing reach – 8’4″; weight – 200 lbs; body fat – 5.2%; wingspan – 6’7.25″; hand length – 8.50; hand width – 9.50.]

A translation of an interview with Satoransky at basketmag.cz is below.




It’s close! Tomas S. after the interview about beer with NBA bosses — feels Cavs have biggest interest in him. And Heat, Spurs or fancy kiss?

[June 13, 2012 – via basketmag.cz]

Tomas, are you swept by excitement these days?

I have to say, there’s lots on my schedule. I have lots of traveling; I was in Treviso, Italy for one day (adidas EuroCamp 2012), and immediately I’m going back to America. It’s all new and it goes very fast, and I’ll realize it all later. In Chicago at the pre-draft camp, there were all the best players from colleges and representatives from all NBA teams. I went through this whole procedure, and I tried not to be too nervous from it.

What was the best experience so far?

At first, I stayed in LA with my agent, where we were preparing for all my upcoming workouts. People from Toronto and Cleveland were there to take a look at me. And then two days before the big Chicago camp, I learned that I was supposed to go there. I was thrilled. There, I had interviews with a number of teams. All of the teams were concentrated on one floor of the building, and I just got a paper from the NBA indicating where and with whom I had an interview. Myself, I didn’t expect anything in particular. But then, when I walked into a room, there were several people sitting — including the GM, president, and coach — and they all suddenly started asking all possible things, from family through what I think of myself, to questions on any problems which I had before. So I said to myself that it is quite tough at the beginning, but I got used to it.

What details interest the team honchos?

Well, it’s very detailed. At first, I described my family, what they do, where they work or how serious the relationship I have with my girlfriend. They wanted me to describe the development of my career as well, how I’d see myself in the NBA, what are my strengths and weaknesses, how I could help their team or what player I’m similar to with my style of play. And, if I ever had some problems with alcohol, too.

What did you answer (about the alcohol)?

That I’m Czech, but I didn’t have any. {laughs}

With which teams did you have an interview?

In Chicago, it was Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland and Miami, plus in Treviso, Houston and San Antonio. The last three teams I just mentioned, there weren’t as many people in the room. Mostly it was the main scouts and consultants, and they didn’t even introduce all of them to me. On the flip side, Atlanta and Detroit received me with full staff, including Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank and Hawks coach Larry Drew. Also, for example, Cleveland had its former center, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, there, who’s their consultant now.

In Los Angeles, you have been with your NBA agent, Dan Fegan, one of the five most influential ones?

Dan Fegan is my agent, but I’m in touch mainly with his colleague Jarin Akana, who is in charge of European players, and I talked to him in Seville, Spain. He prepares workouts for me for each day, which consist of being in the weight room and two very intensive workouts in a row. Between the workouts, there’s a break for lunch.

Allegedly, you did well in Treviso. Is it true?

So I guess I had success there, especially in the second game with the Russian U20 team. There, I had the ball a lot of the time; some plays were run for me, and I shot the ball well. I was content. In both games I was able to maintain a quality performance. In the past years, maybe I played even a better game than this year, but in the next game the same day, I was tired. So overall it was probably the best day in Treviso over the years. Playing twice a day is really challenging.

Who were your teammates there?

First, we were divided into various groups and the second game against Russians I played for the All-Star team. For example, I played with swing man Nihad Dedovic, guard Paul Lacombe, or with excellent Ukrainian guard Aleksandr Lipovyy.

Was it enough to stay at Eurocamp for just a day?

Yeah, I think. It was scheduled this way, I didn’t even have more time.

Did you went to play at Treviso because the camp has the attention of virtually the whole NBA, and you can show yourself to a lot of scouts and team representatives?

For sure. I went there in order to show myself in 5-on-5 games and to compete against the best Europeans. In Chicago, that was against the best Americans. That the camp in Treviso is run by adidas played a role, too, because I have a contract with adidas. They invited me to play and paid for my plane tickets as well. They wanted me there as their contractual player who’s headed to the NBA Draft.

Who scouted you in Treviso?

After what I went through in America, I already was familiar with scouts’ faces and other people. From the known faces, there was Kevin McHale, whose speech to players I missed because of my early departure.

In Chicago and Treviso, you played the point guard position all the time?

Yes. This was one of the most common questions from journalists, at which position do I see myself. They say that I’m a point guard or a shooting guard, and they don’t know where to pigeonhole me. So I keep saying to them that I played the point guard my whole career and that even if I could play the 2 position sometimes, now my best position is the point guard. That’s why I was at the point in Chicago, too.

Did you convince the NBA teams that you can play the point?

I can’t say downright I did, but I told them my stance. Their greatest concern is if I’m able to guard the fastest NBA point guards and if I could play against them. Now, it’s more on them to decide where I’m in the big picture. I think I convinced them that as a point guard, I can lead the team and control the game. For example, my team won both games in Treviso.

How would you feel guarding the fastest NBA players like Chris Paul, Derrick Rose or Rajon Rondo?

In Chicago, those drills varied a lot; we played 1-on-1 just a little, some ten minutes. Sure, there was a lot of very athletic point guards, not in the sense that they jumped higher than me, but in their mobility; they were physically strong as well. There was one who’s similar to Rose, his name is Damian Lillard (Weber State). I think I was able to stay with him on defense, it was not easy to finish the shot over me, but of course I had to give myself a little distance from him. I couldn’t press like in the ACB League. And I think in the NBA, this defense where you give the player a little room is used a lot.

In the scouting reports, they criticize your sub-par jump shot off the dribble. How much is it a concern lately?

In the workouts in America, there was a lot of shooting drills. I practiced shooting 85-percent of the time, and I think that it’s improving. I know that everyone thinks I can’t shoot, but my role in Seville was such that I almost couldn’t shoot. But last year, when I believed more in my shot, I had a very good 3-point shot percentage. Some scouts really wondered when I shot mainly well in those workouts, as well as in Treviso. I scored most of my points this way. The shot looks better, but there’s still lots of work necessary, mainly shooting after dribble and off movement.

Can we say that scouts and journalists look at something that is written about you and then they are surprised that the reality is a little different?

Those scouts were watching me during the season as well, but it’s something different seeing me executing a game-plan than when I have more freedom at camps. And I’m very glad that I could go through it and try to convince them that my game in the ACB is just a part of my particular role.

George Zidek once told me that pre-draft camps are like at horse markets. The style of play is very rough, everyone wants to show himself off and from the stands there are tons of NBA people watching everything. Did it look anything like this?

It felt like that. We came to the gym, it looked like in a cage out there, the cage from where they pick someone. For me, it was even more difficult that I didn’t know any of those American players. And you can’t establish some friendships because everyone is concerned with himself, trying to show that he’s the best. Every shot matters, and so it was very competitive.

How many players who are projected to go in the 1st round were there?

Absolutely everyone, they have to go through it. Thus, the projected No. 1, Anthony Davis, and every other name. From the highest evaluated point guards, there were Lillard and Kendall Marshall (North Carolina).

When will you finally decide whether to withdraw or not from the NBA Draft before the June 18 deadline?

I still have time yet. I’ll have a couple more workouts with some teams, so we’ll see. I’ve probably already decided, but until the 18th, I’ll keep it for myself. Looks like I’m inclined to stay in the Draft, but that doesn’t mean I’d go to the NBA this year.

That’s an important question — if someone drafts you, what chance do you give that you’d play one more year in Europe?

This is a quite logical variant, going through this process and then enduring the next year in Europe. But it will depend on more circumstances, and I don’t exclude anything.

CB Seville team will have a lower budget for next season and the future of their coach, Joan Plaza, the guy who brought you up, is uncertain. In the case that you would stay in Europe, does this concern you?

I didn’t look at this much, but in Europe I still prefer CB Seville. They gave me a chance, they like me, and I felt great there. It’s not known yet if the coach will stay, but I don’t concentrate much on that right now.

Allegedly, you’d be good option for the Knicks, Bulls or Spurs. From those interviews you just did, did it seem like someone had more pronounced interest or did everybody act completely neutral?

I sensed something from how they acted, and I felt Cleveland had probably the biggest interest in me. Let’s say Miami and San Antonio were in favor to draft me and stash me in Europe. But those are just my feelings.

What else awaits you before the NBA Draft?

I’ll have a couple workouts — in Cleveland and maybe in Washington. And then I should go back to Los Angeles, where I should go through a workout for Golden State.

An essential “Czech” question: Provided you’d be drafted, maybe in the first round, do you already have an exclusive festive kiss from your girlfriend planned, to keep the tradition?

You bet! I got it planned out. It would be much longer than what Honza (Jan Vesely) performed out there. I mean, it was awkward…. {laughs}

Lukas Kuba