Foto pic courtesy of FCBbasket
Jan Vesely (213-C-1990, agency: BeoBasket) is a 32 year old 213cm center playing his first season in the Spanish ACB for FC Barcelona Lassa . He played 8 years with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul (Turkey-BSL) winning 9 titles and a Euroleague title in 2017. He also spent 3 years in the NBA with the Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets playing a total of 161 NBA games. He began his basketball career with BK Snakes Ostrava U19 team (U19 League) and then played 3 years with BC Partizan Igokea Beograd (Serbia-A League) before being drafted at #6 by the Washington Wizards. germanhoops.com spoke to Jan Vesely who has played 270 Euroleague games before a Euroleague game against Alba Berlin.
Thanks Jan for talking to germanhoops.com. You played 8 years for Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. One may have thought that you would have finished your career there. When you look back now what do you miss most besides having won 9 titles?
I really miss the city. To be 8 years in one city is a very long time. I also miss the fans. But now I decided to go to another club and attempt a new challenge. Fenerbahce will always be in my heart.
Your playing your first season with FC Barcelona. What kind of an experience has it been playing for this famous team? What have you experienced in the first few months there that you would never have thought could have happened?
I’m still getting used to my new team and figuring things out. I have noticed just what kind of brand FC Barcelona is. So many people follow the club. I’m seeing Czech fans coming to the games. I never had Czech fans coming to my Fenerbahce games. The arena is next to the football stadium. I have the feeling that the brand is huge in the world. All know Barca.
This is the first time in your career where you have played less than 20 minutes in league and Euroleague play. What kind of player have you had to become with your role?
I knew when I came here that I wouldn’t play 35 minutes per game. This is actually a good thing. I have a different role where I go step by step and give everything to the team. We have a long roster. It feels good not having to have to play so much. When you play so many minutes, there is that risk to get burned out at the end of the season. I do the best I can with the minutes I get and give all to my team.
You have been such a consistent player your whole career. What has been your secret to being able to play so well year in and year out?
I really don’t know. It isn’t easy being consistent when your playing at such a high level each season. I think very important is my maturity. I know what to expect of my teammates and they know what to expect from me. I also don’t get rattled easily when things aren’t going well.
It has been 12 years since FC Barcelona won the Euroleague title. You have played against FC Barcelona the last years. What is special about tis seasons team?
That is hard to say since the season is still young and we are getting to know each other still. It is still a process, but I still have a good feeling about this team. We have great guys that sacrifice themselves for the good of the team. That is a big key for our success.
How enriching is it being teammates with ex NBA player Tomas Satoransky? How is he a better player now before he went to the NBA?
He is very mature now. He is a similar player to when he went to the NBA. The difference now is that he is very consistent. He has improved in so many areas of his game. He is a great point guard and teammate. He is always trying to help the team the best way he can.
You have played with Tomas Satoransky for many years in the Czech National team. What is something about him that not many know?
He is very passionate about the game.
Your teammates with ex NBA player Mike Tobey. How much do you feel has his game profited from being able to play with Slovenia the last years?
He has played at a high level for some years now, but having played for Slovenia gave him something extra in his game. He is a great player.
You won the 2017 Euroleague title with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. What do you remember being the most special thing about this team?
It wasn’t an easy season. We started Ok but had problems midway through the season with injuries. We never had full rosters. But when we began the playoffs, we had the full roster. Then everyone sacrificed themselves for the team.
How vital was head coach Zeljko Obradovic in your further development with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul? How did you become a better player there under him after your NBA run?
I had come from the NBA and he gave me a chance. He had trust in my game and allowed me to play my game. He gave me the needed confidence to be myself. He allowed me to love basketball and I worked very hard which gave me additional confidence.
How key was having Pero Antic as a teammate? How do you remember him helping you become a better player during the Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul years?
He was very experienced and wasn’t afraid of anyone.
You played against Luka Doncic back when he was with Real Madrid. Do you remember seeing an incredible play from him then where you thought OK this kid is good?
I remember always hearing about how great of a talent he was. He was a big talent then and it was only a matter of time before he would reach the NBA. But I would never have thought then that he would become this great in the NBA. He really benefited from the Real Madrid system. They trusted his abilities when he was very young and that allowed him to believe in himself. They allowed him to prove himself at a young age. That was key in him getting as far as he has come.
You played in the NBA for 3 seasons with Washington and Denver. If you were to play in the NBA today at the age that you were back in 2011, how do you feel would you do today? It is a lot more athletic today.
I have no idea. But the NBA was already athletic when I played. There are so many factors that come to play. I can’t say.
You played with so many great players in the Wizards organization. If you look back what player do you remember having the best relationship with?
I have to say the other rookies with me Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack. We always practiced together and stuck together.
Do you have any special memories playing against Kobe Bryant or Lebron James in the NBA? Is there a memory that you can tell your grandchildren?
They are great players. It was so long ago.
Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NBA that you will never forget?
I didn’t play much.
Thanks Jan for the chat.