Jeremy Hyman | WashingtonWizards.comSeptember 9
EuroBasket is over for the Czech Republic, but they can leave with their heads held high as they made a valiant effort to advance to the second stage after being pegged as big underdogs heading into the tournament. They leave Slovenia with a 2-3 record, with wins over Poland and Georgia and losses to Slovenia, Spain, and Croatia.
Despite being eliminated, Jan Vesely had himself a fine tournament, leaving EuroBasket as the leading rebounder with 11.2 rpg. He played almost exclusively on the post and was able to use his length and athleticism to get to many balls. He also finished sixth in scoring, averaging 17.0 ppg on 59% shooting (which ranked 1st in EuroBasket). His best performance came on Sunday when he scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on 12/14 shooting in a win over Georgia.
Game 1 vs. Slovenia: 17 points, 7 rebounds
Game 2 vs. Poland: 23 points, 14 rebounds
Game 3 vs. Spain: 7 points, 14 rebounds
Game 4 vs. Georgia: 27 points, 10 rebounds
Game 5 vs. Croatia: 11 points, 11 rebounds
One area that Vesely still needs to improve on is his free-throw shooting, as he shot just 36% for the tournament (11/31) including 1/10 in Monday's loss to Croatia. This has been something Ves continues to work on as he tries to develop a more complete game for the NBA.
Now, Vesely needs to prep for the 2013-14 Wizards season as he tries to bounce back from a sophomore campaign that saw his numbers decline. The hardest part for Ves will probably be staying game-ready, because he may be buried on the depth chart when camp breaks. But, if he can show the kind of production he displayed at EuroBasket in practice, he could make a case to be a part of the Wizards rotation.
Tomas Satoransky also had a nice showing at EuroBasket. He finished the tournament averaging 11.2 ppg, 4.2 apg, & 3.2 rpg. He will play another year in Spain, but could be an option for the Wizards in another year or two. Saty was drafted by the Wizards in the second round in the 2012 draft.
After coming up short in the final seconds on Wednesday vs. Slovenia, the Czech Republic were able to pull off a stunning come-from-behind win on Thursday afternoon, defeating Poland 69-68. Trailing by two with eight seconds left, the Czech Republic came out of a timeout and found Lubos Barton open in the corner for game-winning three. Barton was the hero late, but it was Jan Vesely who dominated play for much of the afternoon, finishing the day with a game-high 23 points, 14 rebounds, and four steals.
If it was confidence that was lacking for Vesely in the NBA, there was no sign of that in Thursday's bout as he was not only the focal point of the Czech offense, but was also vocal in the team huddles and showed incredible emotion after the team secured the victory.
Through the first two games, Vesely's 10.5 rebounds per game are tops among all of EuroBasket, while his 20.0 points per game rank second.
The hope is that this will carry over into the NBA season and Vesely can play a role off the Wizards' bench.
The Czech Republic next play on Saturday against Spain at 11:45am. You can watch the game on ESPN3.
According to @Luke_Mellow, Tomas Satoransky suffered a cracked rib in Thursday's game but he is hopeful to play through it and be available for the Czech Republic in Saturday's bout with Spain.
Satoransky has played well for the Czechs in the first two games, averaging 11.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game.
h/t to @BulletsForever for tweeting this video
Jan Vesely & Tomas Satoransky are set to begin play for the Czech Republic at the FIBA EuroBasket championship, which will be held in Slovenia this year.
The action begins today (September 4th) and will run through September 22nd. Below is the Czech Republic schedule for the first stage:
Wednesday, Sep 4 - 3pm: Czech Republic vs. Slovenia
Thursday, Sep 5 - 11:45am: Czech Republic vs. Poland
Saturday, Sep 7 - 11:45am: Czech Republic vs. Spain
Sunday, Sep 8 - 11:45am: Czech Republic vs. Georgia
Monday, Sep 9 - 11:45am: Czech Republic vs. Croatia
After a productive Summer League, this will be a good chance for Vesely to continue to develop and take on a role where he is a go-to player. He got plenty of touches and shot attempts in Vegas and showed a skill-set that we haven't seen for much of his first two seasons with the Wizards. He should get a chance to play a similar role out in Slovenia while helping his Czech team at EuroBasket.
Satoransky was drafted in the 2nd round by the Wizards in the 2012 draft, but will spend at least one more year playing in Spain. He played for the Wizards in the 2012 Summer League where he showed off his athleticism and ball-handling ability. He's still only 21 years old and has plenty of time to develop an NBA game. For now, he'll keep playing in Spain but could be part of the Wizards plans in the next year or two.
24 teams make up EuroBasket and they are broken up into four groups of six. The top three teams from each group will advance into the second stage where new groups are created. We will keep you posted on the progress of Vesely and Satoransky and be sure to check out Truth About It's Lukas Kuba, who will be covering Ves & Saty while they compete at EuroBasket.
You can watch today's game on ESPN3.