“Vesely wants to represent!” pic courtesy of my Czech friend Honza Moucha
In the first week of March, Jan Vesely told Czech Sport Daily that he wants to represent the Czech Republic at EuroBasket 2013. Is anyone surprised? Probably not, but in his homeland this constituted big news. Honza hasn’t played for the Czech national team in four years, and some fans at home surely began to grow angry at him not suiting up. His last game happened to be in August 2009 during the relegation round of EuroBasket 2009 qualification, where the Czechs went 3-3, losing to Oleksiy Pecherov and the Ukraine team in their final game. In six career games for the Czech Republic senior team, Vesely has averaged 11 points, 5.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists.
That final game also marks the last time Jan played on the same team with his close buddy Tomas Satoransky, back when they were a couple of cool teen kids nicknamed “The Gunpowder” (Tomas) and “The Detonator” (Jan) by the Czech media. Vesely has indicated that he’s longing for games where he can play a crucial role, and he will get the opportunity to do so on September 4, 2013, when the Czechs open EuroBasket in a game against the host nation, Slovenia. It seems Vesely was so anxious to play that he picked up a phone and called George Zidek, the Czech National Team GM. Said Zidek, “The fact that Honza called me personally, I consider it the most important [thing]. In the past, it was not always the rule. We talked about our preliminary plan for preparation and games, then Honza chatted with Coach Budinsky and declared his interest in representing the country.”
Some quotes Vesely uttered in the short interview:
[Ed. Note: Lukas Kuba (@Luke_Mellow) is TAI's foreign bureau correspondent on all things Czech Republic/Jan Vesely/Tomas Satoransky-related. —Kyle W.]
After this previous Truth About It.net post about Wizards 2012 draft pick Tomas Satoransky playing for the Czech national team in an attempt to qualify for EuroBasket 2013 got the ultimate praise from Wizards owner Ted Leonsis (Big thanks, Ted!), I couldn’t resist writing another. Of course, you can’t find it anywhere else but here at TAI…
Our main man Kyle Weidie updated you on the Czech Republic’s game fourth of the EuroBasket qualification, where they easily defeated Turkey, 82-64. I can add that the Czechs played great in this game, getting contributions from up and down the roster. Hell, when you have someone named Jakub Kudlacek hitting all his shots (14 points in 16 minutes), there’s almost no way your team can be beat. Also, this game was sort of a coming out party for 19-year-old Czech center Ondrej Balvin, who defended Turkey’s Semih Erden in the low post. The 7-foot-1 kid is the best Czech big man prospect since George Zidek, and he has NBA potential (I think). It was really a fun game to watch, and the hometown Czech fans really got into it, even doing the wave (as you can watch here).
Two days later, the Czech team showed how tight their collective bond is. First, in the streets of Chomutov, they tomato-ambushed their assistant coach, Mike Taylor (who is an assistant coach with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League); Taylor was celebrating his birthday. They then capped it off at a local ice hockey game by pranking Taylor with whipped cream in the face. Fun times.
ShareBullets: (basically, they’re pixels)… but also, they’re bullet points from ’round the web about the Bullets Wizards.
Elevators, Dupont Circle N., D.C.
>> Ted Leonsis calls Michael Lee’s pixels ‘fair pixels‘ … Question mark pixels, I say. Either way, the Wizards and their direction under a relatively new owner, a ‘been there’ GM/team president, and a ‘wanna be there’ old school coach will be interesting to watch. I’m excited. Question is, will the team marketing slogan be up to par?
>> Again, not much to get excited about with summer pro-am basketball, but do check out new Wizards point guard A.J. Price putting in work at the Hartford pro-am… Nice dimes.
[Editor's Note: TAI Czech correspondent Lukas Kuba recently updated us on Wizards 2012 draft pick Tomas Satoransky and the Czech National team's road to EuroBasket 2013. Through three games, the Czechs were 2-1 in Group F qualifying play -- a win against Belarus, a loss to Italy, and a win against Portugal. On Monday, Satoransky and his teammates matched up against traditional power Turkey (also with a record of 2-1), featuring Semih Erden of the Cleveland Cavaliers and another Washington Wizards Euro-stash, Emir Preldzic.
Saty and the Czechs destroyed the Turks, 82-64. Tomas led all scorers with 16 points and added six rebounds, five assists (two turnovers), and five fouls-drawn to his stat line, and he only played 24 minutes. Preldzic chipped in 10 points, six assists, two turnovers, three rebounds, and three steals for Turkey in the loss. The Czech Republic will next face Belarus at home in Chomutov, CZE, and then will head to Trieste, Italy for a rematch with Italians on September 2. They will close out group play against Portugal on Sept. 5 and Turkey on Sept. 11.
Below, Lukas Kuba translates a July 2012 (before NBA summer league) Tomas Satoransky interview with Czech Basketmag titled, "Miracle No. 32." -Kyle W.]
[Ed. Note: Czech correspondent Lukas Kuba (@Luke_Mellow) brings an update on 2012 Wizards second round draft pick Tomas Satoransky.]
“Wizard teammates remembered my windmill because, as they say, white men can’t jump.”
Guess who made that quote? The guy who listens to Lil’ Wayne before games… you guessed right, it was Saty—Tomas Satoransky’s nickname back home in the Czech Republic. That quote’s from one the interviews he gave to Czech press after he returned from the United States and Summer League play in Las Vegas.
Satoransky was honest about the area he needs to improve most to take the next step: ”With regard to my strength, I’m not ready for the NBA, I gotta get stronger. Overall, summer league was a good experience and coach [Randy] Wittman could get to know me, which is important to the future.”
The Wizards handled, but escaped the Memphis Grizzlies in their fourth summer league game, an 83-77 win. TAI’s Adam McGinnis, Markus Allen, Arish Narayen, and Kyle Weidie take you through The Reaction, but first…
The play of the game: Jeremy Pargo smoothness to Mitchell Watt for the dunk, and-1.
The Wizards summer leaguers must have gotten their proper rest after a weary effort in game one on Friday, because they looked more than solid against the Houston Rockets on Saturday in a 76-70 win that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. This is the TAI Reaction…
[PARENTAL ADVISORY: ICE CUBE IS PRONE TO PROFANITY]
One up, one down. The Wizards looked good at times, in spots, but not often in a 20-point loss to the Atlanta Hawks (102-82) in their Las Vegas Summer League debut. For your perusal: the box score via NBA.com.
The Washington Wizards faithful got what they came to see. No; not the Wiz getting throttled by the Hawks in Washington’s first Summer League contest — but Bradley Beal. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft dropped 22 points on 6-for-14 shooting (1-for-3 from 3-point range) in his first televised game as a pro. (His first field goal attempt, a transition layup, was blocked.) When he wasn’t finding space off ball screens, Beal was slashing into the paint for points and earning trips to the free throw line, where he missed just one of his 10 attempts. It’s easy to talk about the rookie’s versatile skillset at the two guard (handles and scoring instincts), but he really impressed on the defensive end of the floor. Beal is long, he’s quick, he’s disciplined, and he’s tough. And the best part about it: Bradley Beal is a Wizard.