Summer of Satoransky Pt. 2: Coming to America; Impressions of John Wall | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Summer of Satoransky Pt. 2: Coming to America; Impressions of John Wall

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Updated: September 7, 2016

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As part of his end-of-summer Czech media tour (read part 1 here), Tomas Satoransky recently appeared on Czech Radio’s “Radiojournal” show. You can read more about the appearance in Czech on Facebook and watch on YouTube, or you can check out the highlights below via TAI’s Czech correspondent, Lukas Kuba.

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Satoransky has a plenty of game and a pile of potential (he will turn 25 at the end of October). But he’s still got a long way to go before he looks like a polished pro. And he drove that point home with a story during the radio show.

He was in London, just 16 years old and about to play in his first game for the Czech men’s senior national basketball team. And in the brand new O2 Arena—it was a showdown between Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng and his Great Britain team versus the Czech Republic.

Satoransky was really looking forward to the game, and finally, in the second quarter, he got his chance to play. He came off the bench, shed his warm-ups, and suddenly, the English crowd of 12,000 began to buzz. Wow, he said to himself, I didn’t know they know me here! As it turned out: nope, they did not know about this Czech kid with unkempt hair. Tomas got ready with such a mix of excitement and anxiety, he put on his Czech jersey in reverse—with SATORANSKY across the chest.

Of course, he didn’t notice it at all, and his Czech teammates didn’t tell him, either. You know, rookie hazing. So Tomas got on the court and, in a moment, almost everyone in the arena started to point their fingers on him. What the hell? Great Britain’s Pops Mensah-Bonsu then came to him and told him about the uniform snafu. Meanwhile, Saty’s teammates on the bench were laughing their heads off. For the next five minutes of game time, all teenage Satoransky could think about was: Damn, what an idiot I am.

There were more short stories like that, but perhaps the two most interesting bits relate to his contract. He has a “for the love of the game” clause in his Wizards contract (standard for most NBA contacts), which allows him to play ball anywhere during the offseason. Satoransky says he couldn’t do that while he was playing in Europe and that he would like to play in an offseason pickup game in New York City at least once. However, Saty can’t engage in non-basketball activities that may cause a risk to his health, like riding a motorbike or skiing. He is not into motorbikes, but when he was young he liked to ski, but says he hasn’t skied for 13 years.

Extra Bytes.

  • When he’s home in Czech Republic, he gets mistakenly identified as Spaniard or foreigner because of his darker skin complexion (compared to the average Czech) and dark brown eyes.
  • Satoransky hates to lose; in fact, he’s insufferable after losses in big-time games—sometimes he can’t sleep for days after.
  • His choice of sneakers: adidas, size 13.
  • Satoransky took part in the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program this summer.
  • He also attended the Wizards’ players-only minicamp in Los Angeles organized by John Wall, and said that his teammates were willing to help him with anything—”Everybody was very cool and real nice to me.”
  • Satoransky watched NBA games growing up. The league is one of the reasons why he started playing basketball: “It’s just a great show. I had lots of role models in the NBA, and now to get an opportunity to play against them, it’s incredible.”
  • He always looks to finish with a dunk: “I’ll try to entertain the crowd,” he says.
  • Saty claims he is always a guy who would rather pass the ball than shoot.
  • He likes the fact that there are ball boys in the NBA; now he can work out/shoot around at any time while they rebound and pass the ball back.
  • Considers the NBA fines “huge” and will think twice before reacting or mouthing off to a referee’s call

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Before the Labor Day weekend in the U.S., Satoransky also spoke with sport.aktualne.cz; highlights and quotes below.

  • Satoransky will fly to the District this Friday to prepare for the season: “I’m a bit tired, but at the same time I’m excited that I’m an NBA player. I already can’t wait to start playing there.”
  • Regular season games he’s looking forward most: versus the Knicks and his buddy Kristaps Porzingis, and versus LeBron’s Cavs.
  • Satoransky enjoyed the Rookie Transition Program but also says: “It was pretty crazy. We were stuck at the hotel for three days.”
  • He was 17 when he really started to believe that he had a chance to play in the NBA.
  • Tomas: “My athleticism was a bit of a rarity in Europe, but it’s probably average for the NBA level. I have to deal with it and find an aspect of my game which will be exceptional [even] in the NBA. So, I’m basically starting from zero [again].”
  • Out of his Wizards teammates, John Wall has made the greatest impression on Satoransky so far. Tomas says Wall immediately took him under his wing during the mini camp. “John was really nice and I was surprised what a leader he is. He exudes leadership on and off the floor, too. [During his six NBA seasons] he grew to be a leader. He began helping me from the very start. [My teammates] know that [a rookie NBA season] is not easy for an European. The goal is to be successful as a team so I felt support from all of them, and especially from John.”
  • Overall, Satoransky praised the behavior of his new teammates. They don’t have any starry mannerisms, he says. “They’re all totally cool. Of course, they ride different cars [than Europeans], but when you talk to them they are cool, and I felt they don’t act superior.”
  • Saty also says that Kelly Oubre really impressed him on the court.

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Lukas Kuba