Home Sweet Home For Impressive Vesely

02 May 2012

6. Radovan Kouril (Czech Republic) and FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year Jan Vesely
Jan Vesely is now back home in the Czech Republic and is discussing his participation in the EuroBasket 2013 Qualification Round with coach Pavel Budinsky

By Jeff Taylor

The Czech Republic are going to need all hands on deck to have a chance of reaching next year's EuroBasket in Slovenia.

Coach Pavel Budisky will guide the team against Turkey, Italy, Belarus and Portugal in one of the toughest groups in the EuroBasket 2013 Qualification Round.

The first two teams in each of the six groups will advance to the Final Round, as well as the four best third-place teams.

While success in Group F won't depend on just one player but an entire team, the Czechs' chances of making the trip to Slovenia are undoubtedly much better if Jan Vesely is with the team.

The 22-year-old, who returned to Europe on Tuesday after completing his rookie campaign in the NBA with the Washington Wizards, spoke with reporters about his first season in America and said that he plans to meet with the national team boss next week.

"I've got meetings with coach Pavel Budinsky," Vesely said.

"Everything is under discussion.

"My participation in the national team is not excluded.

"However, the priority remains for me to have the best preparation for next season."

The 2010 FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year, Vesely did not have an ideal introduction to life in the NBA.

The NBA Lockout forced teams to shut down their league operations, and that left players in limbo.

While some elected to play overseas during the labour dispute, rookies like Vesely and Ricky Rubio (Minnesota) bided their time in the United States.

Jan Vesely - Partizan
Vesely is 'one of the higher basketball-IQ people' according to Wizards coach Randy Wittman

Once the basketball year did start, there were growing pains for Vesely.

He had to play for one of the worst teams in the league and his coach, Flip Saunders, was fired.

But Washington promoted assistant coach Randy Wittman, who played in the NBA himself, to the top job and Vesely saw his role become more important.

"Jan is one of our higher basketball IQ people," Wittman said.

"He knows how to play, makes right decisions. Defensively, he's aggressive.

"He can run the floor extremely well."

Vesely's time with Partizan Belgrade in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, and the Adriatic League, clearly helped him mature quickly.

"He's a young kid that's going to get bigger and stronger, but he knows situations, reads situations well," Wittman said.

"And I've been pleased."

Vesely ended up averaging 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 18.9 minutes per contest.

He saw action in 57 games and started in 20 and was especially effective in April when he played almost 28 minutes per game, averaging 8.4 points and seven boards.

"At the end of the season, it was fun," Vesely said.

"I have enjoyed basketball a lot."

Vesely says it felt as if he was always on the go in America.

"I can't wait to take a few days off," he said.

"The season has been difficult and sometimes, we had three games in three days."

Once he catches his breath, Budinsky and Czech fans will be hoping that he turns his full attention to the national team.

The Czech Republic's first EuroBasket 2013 qualifying game is on 15 August at Belarus.



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