By Niki Bakouli/ email@example.com
The Las Vegas Summer League wasn’t as good as it could be for Jan Vesely, due to his injury (he sprained his ankle, during the first quarter of the game the Washington Wizards vs. the Milwaukee Bucks, last Wednesday), but he already got all the attention he wanted. He seemed more determined than ever, while he had 9.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Against the Memphis Grizzlies he pulled down 12 rebounds and the experts estimated his coach, Randy Wittman will consider giving him more minutes.
The sixth-overall pick in the 2011 draft didn’t have to think twice, before he signed for the summer league “since I had the chance to find out if the hard work I put on was successful. I will keep working hard and when the time comes I will see what exactly I managed to do”.
We met the Czech forward and his fiancée, Eva Kodouskova (ex-basketball player and now an architecture student), at Cox Pavillon after he had a huge game vs. the Grizzles and he was really joyful. After all that’s the actual meaning of his name in his native language.
As he explained to Eurohoops.net “it’s tough for all guys who are coming from Europe to adjust to the NBA, because it’s a different basketball. At first, you try to find out how to play this game, which is more about individual skills, than in Europe. So, it’s really tough. I needed two to 3 months just to figure out how to play this game and to adopt to the NBA rules”.
And that’s why at first he preferred to pass up to an open player than to shoot. Now, he is asking for the ball and he knows how to score. You see, everybody knew about his speed and his court movement, from the first moment, but they all were adding the need to work on his shoot. “I just want to play my game and stay positive and if I get a chance, I want to be ready to use it. I mean, I work hard this summer (with Wizards’ developmental coach, Joe Conelly, mostly on shooting jump shots and driving to the basket off the dribble), I got more confident on outside shooting and I think this season will be better that the last one”. He will keep working hard, since he lives his dream (to make it at the NBA –not just get over there) and he won’t stop trying, till he will get what he wants.
That is what he did when he was playing for Geoplin Slovan, in Slovenia and he got to Partizan, in Serbia and from there to Washington Wizards. We asked him about Partizan and he admitted “I’m still watching Partizan’s game sometimes and I talk with the players. I know Dule (Vujosevis) is back and I know this is something really good for the young players, who need to work a lot! When Vujosevic gives you the chance, you need to use it in the right way, to work hard everyday, to just keep playing, keep fighting for every ball for every possession. This is a good start if you want to play for him”.
What was harder? To get a chance from Dule or at the NBA? “I think here is tougher, since it’s a different kind of basketball, from what I got used to play to Slovenia, to Serbia, to Euroleague, to Adriatic League. Over there it was the same philosophy, the same need for a team playing, although the leagues were different and the games much harder. Here you have to work a lot by yourself. I will continue my individual practices all summer long and I will have the chance to practice with the team for at least two months, something didn’t happen last year”, because of the lockout.