Martin Peterka(Czech Republic National Team) Hopes They Will Possibly Write Another Story At The 2021 Olympics Like they Did At The 2019 World Cup

Martin Peterka (205-C-95) is a 26 year old 205m center that began his basketball career with BK Synthesia Pardubice. He then played 5 seasons with top Czech republic team ERA Basketball Nymburk (NBL) winning 8 titles. Last season he played in Germany with the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games averaging 7.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 45.5%, FT: 82.9%. Currently he is with the Czech Republic national team trying to qualify for the 2021 Olympics. He spoke during the 2021 Super Cup in Hamburg.

Martin thanks for talking to Welcome to Hamburg, Germany. There is a lot of water in Hamburg. Does the water and old buildings remind you a bit of Prague?

Unfortunately we are not allowed to visit the center of the city, but I know that Hamburg is really nice. I have never been in the center. But as you said comparing it with Prag might be on place, because of water and lots of historical sights.

Your with the Czech Republic National team playing the Super Cup. How exciting is it being with the national team in 2021 with the opportunity to qualify for the Olympics?

It is really exciting. I always love to play for the national team. And this year we have a big chance to qualify for the Olympic games. This is a chance that might not be here again for a long time so we need to do everything for it.

You suffered a tough loss against Germany. Was Germany so good or was this just a very bad performance by the Czech Republic?

I think it was both. Germany played really good basketball and we didn’t play so good. We had a problem with their aggressiveness. Our defensive rebound was not so good and we had a lot of turnovers. But it’s still a friendly match and we need to take it as a lesson and improve. Every game with a good opponent like Germany can help us improve a lot.

What is your impression of Germany? They weren’t complete with Dennis Schroeder. Should they not be able to qualify for the Olympics with that roster?

I think they got a good team especially under the basket. And if Dennis will join the team their power will be even higher. I think they got a good chance to qualify.

How do you feel has the Czech Republic national team been able to develop since the World Cup 2019 despite COVID-19?

The team has developed a lot. There are some younger guys who got a chance to play and they are doing their best. The core of the team from the World Cup remained the same for this year plus Jan Vesely who will be big help for the team, because he is a great player.

How is the state of Czech basketball at the moment? Is basketball growing and how is the youth development going?

After the World Cup it was like everybody started to care about basketball a little bit more in the Czech Republic. So my opinion is that the level of basketball in Czech is going a little bit up. Also there are some really talented young guys who can be the future of Czech basketball like Vit Kreji. He was drafted to the NBA last year. But I think in the age of 16-20, the Czech Republic used to have better results, so I think here we struggle a little bit.

How much potential does young player Patrick Samoura have. He scored 7 points against Germany. What do you appreciate about his game and just how good is he?

He surprised me. He really improved a lot. He is little bit like our former captain Pavel Pumprla. He plays hard defense and he is fighting for every ball. He got a bright future if he keeps working on himself.

What is it like being teammates with an amazing player like Blake Schilb. I always thought he was a guy that could have played in the NBA? What do you appreciate most about his game?

Blake is a very smart guy and playing with him is always easy because he understands the game very well. In his age he might not be the quickest one, but he really helps us with basketball IQ and also he is a great shooter.

NBA player Tomas Satoransky and Jan Vesely will join the team soon. What has it been like being teammates with them over the years? Where would Czech basketball be without them?

They are both great players everybody knows that. With them our game will be on a higher level. Saty is the engine of the team and his competitiveness also helps the team. Jan Vesely is one of the best centers in the euroleague and he will also give our game another level. I can’t wait to play with them again.

The Czech Republic will be playing against Uruguay and Turkey in Canada soon. How confident is the team that the Olympics could become a reality?

It’s going to be tough but I think it’s not unrealistic. Our first goal will be to advance from the first group. After that there are 2 games which you need to win. It’s going to be against really strong teams, but we are confident and we will fight about the only advancing spot

The Czech Republic had a Cinderella run in 2019 reaching 6th place. How do you remember playing Serbia?

It was an amazing story that we wrote. For 2 weeks basketball became number one in the Czech Republic. People from the Czech Republic lived the story with us. We played really good basketball, We had a great chemistry in the team. Everything was working just perfectly. We played Serbia in the last game of the tournament and we lost by I think 9 points.

You lost the first World Cup game to USA 88-67. What will you always remember most about this game when you think about it?

I remember when everyone from their players entered the court the whole gym were applauding for them and cheering. But we didn’t play a bad game against them. The first half it was quite close, but in the second half they showed their quality. It is an experience I will remember for rest of my life.

What was it like battling shot blocking beast Myles Turner? Did you feel like you held your own against him?

Yeah he is the beast, but he wasn’t my match-up so I didn’t have so many chances to meet him. I think I didn’t even get blocked by him

They had many great players, but which guy stood out the most to you?

I think it was Kemba Walker. He was the main star of the team and he showed this during the game. His ballhandling was amazing.

Last season you played with Braunschweig. Was it a tough decision not winning two titles a season with Nymburk and taking on a new challenge?

It was really a tough decision even after all these great 5 years I spent in Nymburk. But I just felt that I needed a new challenge, my friends and especially my girlfriend supported me so it made it little bit easier. I felt like I made the right decision and I am not regretting it.

With all the observations you made last season, besides giving young Germans playing strength, what do you feel was head coach Pete Strobl’s biggest strength in helping them develop?

He is really good in drills with players. He has a knowledge about all those drills and he knows what is the best for the players. He is also really good in talking with players about everything. What you need to improve, what your good at, and so on. He is really open to discussion.

What was it like playing with talented German Karim Jallow? Does he have Euroleague format?

I really like him on and off the court. Great guy. In his game he improved a lot especially in shooting where he struggled a little bit. He had a really good season, where he was one of our leaders and he is ready to move to higher level.

You played 5 seasons with ERA Basketball Nymburk (NBL) winning 8 titles. Was there one title that has stood out the most?

Maybe it was the first one. You know when you win something for the first time you are happy the most.

You were teammates with legend Jiri Welsch. How much of an impact did his presence have on you that season and was he like a mentor for you?

Yes it was my first season with Nymburk and he helped me a lot. He is a legend in Czech basketball and everybody respects him. So he tried to help us and make it easier for us. He was also the guy who could raise our game when we were not playing good.

You were also teammates with Euroleague player Howard Sant Roos who many years ago played in Germany’s third division. Did you know then that he could become a Euroleague player?

I knew that Howie was special. Especially for Czech league where he was dominating. He was really a athletic hard working guy who improved a lot during the season. He got confidence and made some good steps after he left Nymburk and now he is Euroleague player. I really enjoyed playing with him and I wish him the best.

What is the next step for you? Will you continue to paly abroad or return home?

I still don’t have a contract yet so I will see. But I would like to stay in Germany. I found out that league is really good, and the service for the players is on a high level and I had everything what I needed in my first year abroad.

Who has been the toughest player that you ever faced that might be in the NBA or Euroleague?

I remember the game against Serbia which we already mentioned here. They had great guys under the basket. Jokic Milutinov, Radulica, Marjanovic. It was really tough. And from the German league this year I would say Luke Sikma from Alba. He is really physical and strong.

Who are your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Tomas Satoransky, Lukas Wank, Vojta Hruban, Benedikt Turudic, Karim Jallow.

What is your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?

Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Shaquille O’ Neal, Kobe Bryant.

Will Luka Doncic be the best player in the NBA one day. Is he top 3 now?

I think he will be the best player. For me it was incredible how he started to play in NBA and how he is still playing. He is really smart and he is using it. He is playing really good and I enjoy watching his game. I think he is for sure top 3 right now.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Right now I am watching TV series Vikings on Netflix. I love historical or fantasy movies and TV shows. This is exactly for me.

Thanks Martin for the chat.

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