Jan Vesely arrived to London in 2008 to participate in the Future Stars International Junior Tournament as one of the most recognised young talents in Europe at that time. The Czech Republic U18 National team who claimed the Future Stars title was spearheaded by the trio of Vesely, Tomas Satoransky and Jakub Kudlacek with Vesely picking up the MVP trophy.
While it was obvious to everyone that this gravity defying monster belongs to a rare breed of athletes very few experts expected Vesely’s supersonic elevation to the European elite. Two years later he led Partizan Belgrade to the Final Four collecting the FIBA Europe Young Men’s Player of the Year Award in the process. A year later he was drafted in the first round by the Washington Wizards with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft.
After three years in the NBA he returned to Europe to join Zelijko Obradovic at Fenerbahce Istanbul. In 2017, Jan Vesely was a crucial part of the Fenerbahce team which claimed the first Euroleague trophy in the history of Turkish basketball.
Future Stars caught up with Jan Vesely to reflect on his career.
You arrived to London to play in Future Stars in 2008 with a very talented generation of players like Tomas Satoransky and Jakub Kudlacek. Almost straight after that you joined Partizan Belgrade which launched you into international stardom. What were the main factors allowing you to become a very important player in a team playing at the highest European level at such a young age? Especially in an era where young players find it very difficult to play important roles in top European teams?
Could you reflect on your years in Belgrade and the role of coach Dusko Vujosevic in your development as a professional player?
You have spent three years in the NBA which did not to live up to your expectations to put it mildly. There is absolutely no question about your physical talent and pure basketball skills. What has happened that you haven’t fulfilled your potential in the NBA?
We have already mentioned coach Vujosevic and his role in developing your career. After a spell in the NBA you started working with another coaching icon, perhaps the biggest one Zelijko Obradovic. Please tell us about your transformation from a young player with your confidence somehow affected after the NBA experience into one of the most spectacular and influential players in Euroleague? Surely coach Obradovic was at the centre of this process?
You have achieved enormous success with Fenerbahce including winning Euroleague. You have also signed an extension to your contract. Does this mean that your future is firmly focused on Europe and you are not thinking about the NBA anymore?
How difficult was it for you to follow the Czech National team in the World Cup in China? Your team led by Tomas Satoransky was one of the revelations of the tournament. Perhaps with you being able to play the Czech Republic would qualify to the Olympic Games by the virtue of being one of two top European teams.