Ondrej Sehnal (196-PG-97) is a 24 year old 192cm point guard that is playing his first season in Germany with the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig currently averaging 8,1ppg, 2,7rpg and 6,6apg. He previously played his whole career in his home country Czech Republic for USK Prag. He played 115 NBL league games in the Czech Republic. Last season he played 31 games averaging 16.7ppg, 5.8rpg, Assists-2 (8.0apg), Steals-5 (1.7spg), FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 54.4%. He played at the 2021 Olympic games in Japan and spoke to germanhoops.com about his career.
Ondrej thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Before we talk about basketball, talk a bit about how you experienced COVID in the last year and a half? What were the biggest challenges for you on and off the court?
I think that in the beginning was probably the hardest part for most of us because we did not know what was coming and how we were all going to deal with it. Afterwards the toughest part of it was dealing with the restrictions and quarantines during the season. Lately I feel I got used to it, considering the circumstances around basketball.
With everything that you saw off the court, how do you think did COVID made you stronger as a man?
For sure, I tried to look at it from a positive way and took the advantage of the ‘longer summer’ to get better like a player. I was practicing individually with my trainer two times per day for 4 months, so I think I got the best from that situation.
You had a very interesting and successful summer helping the Czech Republic qualify for the 2021 Summer Olympics as well as taking part. What was the best part of the summer?
I would say that the best part was beating Greece in the Final of the qualification and the moment when we realized we were in Tokyo.
You helped beat Canada and Greece to qualify for the 2021 Olympics. Were these the two best wins back to back in your career?
Yeah probably the most important wins of my life so far
This summer’s Czech Republic national team was very special. What was the secret to the success? How much did the overall good friendships that the players have with each other?
I think the most important thing in our team is the chemistry within the team.
What kind of a feeling was it being in the stadium at the opening ceremonies at the Summer Olympics? What will you always remember most from that event?
It was a special moment for me personally. That was the time, when I realized I was representing my country at the Olympics
The Czech Republic lost as expected to France and the United States. What was your summary of how team Czech Republic presented themselves in Japan?
I feel like we could of done better in the first game against Iran. We started pretty good, but unfortunately didn’t finish the game like we wanted. Last two games were very similar. We started the game great, but over time both teams showed their qualities and deeper rotation. In the end I think we can be proud of what we accomplished this summer.
In the 119-84 loss to team USA, you scored 5 points in 12 minutes. Were you in awe on the court seeing all these stars like Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard and Draymond Green?
Surely, it was a great experience playing against the best players in the world.
If you had to choose one player form Team USA that impressed you the most that you may not have thought of before the game who would it have been?
Jrue Holiday. His defense was unbelievable.
Were you able to meet any famous athletes at the Summer Olympics that you had always wanted to see?
I am a big tennis fan, so it was a great experience meeting Czech women players, Stefanos Tsisipas and others.
Congrats on signing with German easyCredit BBL team Baksetball Lowen Braunschweig. How vital was the advice of teammate Martin Peterka for making the decision to move to Germany?
We talked a lot about the club with Martin, but that didn’t really play a big role in my decision in the end.
After playing your whole career at USK Praha how confident are you that you will be able to make the next step in one of Europe’s top leagues?
I am confident in the next step of my career and excited about what is ahead of me
Let’s talk a little about your game. You’re a 192cm point guard. Who were your early role models and if you had to compare your game to a NBA player who would best fit the description?
My favourite player growing up was always Lebron James, so I loved versatile players. I didn’t really think about any comparable players to me, but I hope I would be compared to versatile players.
You’re a guard that can really fill the stat sheet and recorded triple doubles in the NBL league. What other strengths does your game have and how would you describe yourself as a defender?
I feel like the strongest attribute of my game is that I can adapt for whatever role in the team. I think I can score and pass the ball at the high level and meanwhile play also good defense.
How much of an influence has your teammate and NBA player Tomas Satoransky been on your game? How do you feel has he been able to help you most with your game?
I have watched his game since I was little and I feel that just being around him in the team helps me to learn.
USK Praha belong to the top clubs in the Czech Republic in terms of developing their youth. How important were your early years for the development of your game?
I think I was very fortunate to come to the USK when I was a kid, I feel like it was the best youth program in the Czech Republic.
How important has Blake Schilb been for your game. You have been teammates with the national team and USK Praha. He is a very versatile play. How much of his game has helped rub off on your game?
It was great experience to be around Blake, listen to his advics and just play the game of basketball with him
Who was the toughest player you ever faced on the court?
Please name your five best teammates of all-time.
Tomas Satoransky, Jan Vesely, Jaromir Bohacik, Ondrej Balvin, and Vojtech Hruban, so basically my teammates in the national team so far.
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads.
Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan
What is your personal opinion of the non stop debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
In my opinion since 2016 it is Lebron James
Did you see the sequel to Coming to America? Should they just have left it alone?
I did not see it