“I’m looking forward to the matchup with Jokic” Czech big man Jan Vesely tells The Sports Rabbi as he readies for the Eurobasket

Aug 31, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

The Sports Rabbi In Prague for Eurobasket 2022

One of the most exciting and intriguing players at the Eurobasket is Czech Republic and Barcelona center Jan Vesely. The 32-year old big man has been a fixture in the EuroLeague for many years, having starred with Fenerbahce since his arrival from the Denver Nuggets and Washington Wizards in the NBA.

The 2019 EuroLeague MVP helped capture the 2017 continental title in 2017 to go along with numerous domestic trophies and the 32-year old would certainly like to add another medal to his collection.

Jan Vesely – Photo Credit: The Sports Rabbi

Just ahead of the opening of the Eurobasket, Vesely spoke to The Sports Rabbi about the upcoming tournament, his thoughts on the job the Czech’s Israeli coach Ronen “Neno” Ginzburg is doing along with being able to host the group stage in his home country.

“It’s a great honor to have this type of tournament in front of our fans, we deserve it after all of these years.”

As for goals ahead of the upcoming Eurobasket, Vesely doesn’t want to look too far ahead and make any type of concrete statements, “We aren’t going to give ourselves any goals we will go with it as it comes. That’s how we played all of these years including the qualifications and the Olympics last year. We go as outsiders and give our best and try to win as many games. Last year it was a great success which no one expected, but now we just want to play our game and try to be focussed in us and show the people that we deserve to be here.”

Jan Vesely – Photo Credit: FIBA

The final game of the group stages for the Czech Republic is Israel on Thursday September 8th and Vesely knows that there are plenty of games before they’d play the blue-and-white, “The Israel game is the last one and we aren’t thinking much about it. Our most important game is the first game.”

Vesely will have the opportunity to tip-off against one of the top players and big men in the world in Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and that is one matchup the Czech is very much looking forward to.

Deni Avdija and Nikola Jokic both with Serbian roots meet before battle – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

“It’s an honor to play against a two time NBA MVP and a great player. We had a tournament with Serbia in Hamburg and we didn’t play against them but we saw them play live and the way he plays is amazing. I’m looking forward to the matchup and I think it will be a good experience for me.”

Czech Republic head coach is Sabra Neno Ginzburg who has been plying his trade in Eastern Europe for more than a decade. Vesely felt that a better term for the Israeli tactician is manager ge explained, “He gives us so much experience and he has been with us for so many years. He has been with a lot of teams and gives us freedom and let’s us play while getting the best out of us, it’s not easy to coach a national team as players may have different roles in their club team than the national team. He’s doing a good job managing that and in fact with a national team you have to be more of a manager than a coach as you don’t have that much time to prepare offense and defense while being aware of the quality of the players that you have. I believe that he is doing a good job with this.”

Ronen “Neno” Ginzburg – Photo Credit: FIBA

The key Vesely and the national team’s success with Ginzburg all comes down to the relationship that they have which is one that is unique, “I have a very open relationship with him and open communication. We have had some up and downs while exchanging arguments over the years, but it was always for the team. He understands what I have to say and I understand what he has to say. This is the best way to have a relationship, to be open and I’m happy that he’s here. He’s doing a good job in managing us.”

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