In his first season playing in Europe, 25-year old point guard Willie Kemp (188-G-87, college: Memphis) is off to a tremendous start both in the Czech NBL and Slovak Extraliga. He is tied for the NBL league lead at 20.0 points per game after two rounds and has helped Astrum Levice to a 2-0 record in the Extraliga. Kemp played collegiality at the University of Memphis where in between being a part-time starter his freshman and senior seasons, was part of a historic 2007-08 season which saw his Tigers reach the NCAA Championship Game. After playing professionally in the NBA D-League in the USA and then last season in Tunisia, Kemp took some time to share his thoughts on playing for Levice, his journey here and what his expectations are for the season.
Q.What have been your first impressions about Levice, Slovakia so far?
A.It has been great here in Levice so far. The fans are awesome and everybody loves basketball here.
Q.Most fans do not know much about basketball in Tunisia, where you played last season. How did you end up there and what was the experience like?
A.I ended up in Tunisia because I was going to go back to the NBA-D League for a second season but I changed my mind at the last minute. Most jobs in Europe were taken by the time I had made my decision. But the experience was amazing, we traveled to Europe and Morocco to play some good teams. Also, it was a great experience for me to be a leader on another championship team.
Q.Going back to your time at Memphis, you were part of a historic and also controversial 2007-08 Tigers team which reached the NCAA Finals. As a player going through the high of reaching the Finals, but then having to deal with the scrutiny of the NCAA investigations, how did it affect you and your teammates?
A.Playing on the 2007-2008 team at Memphis was something special to be apart of. That team was very talented and amazing as a group. We won a lot of games and making it to the National Championship game is something nobody can ever take away from me and my teammates. When the NCAA started to investigate our team it was very difficult because that's all people wanted to talk about when they see you out somewhere. But, me and my teammates stuck together like we did all season and we knew as a team we didn't break any rules.
Q.What was the most memorable moment of that 2007-08 season for you personally?
A.I had a lot of great memories from the 2007-2008 team. One memory that sticks out is when we played Mississippi State in the NCAA tournament and I stepped up and hit four big three's to help us win and move on in the tournament. Another one, is playing in the National Championship game playing in front of 80,000 people was something special. Another memory was playing with Derrick Rose, he was a great player and I learned a lot from him.
Q.What were some of the positive aspects of playing in the NBA D-League your rookie season?
A.Playing in the NBA D-League my first season was a great experience for me. I played against some good players there. Not only did the D League teach me some things about basketball, it also helped me learn how to be a professional basketball player personally.
Q.So far this season you have gotten off to a terrific start for Levice, what has been the key to your and the teams success?
A.We have just been playing as a team and trying to get better every game and every practice. Our coaching staff does a great job on making us work hard in practice. I know I am 100% dedicated to winning a championship and my teammates are as well. You practice how you play!
Q.You also are in a situation unlike any other team, playing both in the Czech NBL and the Slovakian Extraliga. What is that like? Do you have to change your approach to preparation?
A.Playing in two different leagues is something I haven't done before. The most important thing I have to do is take care of my body and eat right. Playing 60 games is a lot, but if I can do those two things I will be okay.
A.Fans should know that I love to win and I'm a winner. I love playing the game of Basketball. I am blessed with the chance to play basketball professionally and I do not take that for granted. I hope that my hard work on and off the court shows that. Levice has been great thus far; and I'm willing to do anything to help our basketball team win games this season.
David Skranc (206-C/F-96, agency: Octagon Europe) led Pardubice to the semifinals with 14 points, hitting 3-of-4 from the three-point range. Last summer David Skranc worked on his physical condition and his skills before the long, hard season ahead with his coach Levell Sanders . Now, He is playing his best basketball. This season, David Skranc is the best Draft prospect in the Czech League with a PER of 14.5 David Skranc 14.5 Alexander Madsen (207-F/C-95) 14.4 Radovan Kouril (185-PG-9... [read more]
David Skranc (206-C/F-96, agency: Octagon Europe) led Pardubice to the semifinals with 14 points, hitting 3-of-4 from the three-point range.
Last summer David Skranc worked on his physical condition and his skills before the long, hard season ahead with his coach Levell Sanders . Now, He is playing his best basketball.
This season, David Skranc is the best Draft prospect in the Czech League with a PER of 14.5
David David Skranc is a versatile small forward prospect with good size and length. The Czech Republic native can score from multiple spots on the floor and he understands how to play around the rim, can be a mismatch for smaller defenders as well as challenge bigger defenders. David Skranc is a high level rebounder for a wing. His 4.3 rebounds per game were third-best among draft prospect in the Fiba Europe Cup.
In 2015, The U20 Czech national team showed their best result in history (6th place) where David Skranc played a key role for the team where he played more than 20 minutes per game.
NBL Round 6 of Quarter-Finals. BK Opava complete semifinal picture - 1 day ago
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BK Opava - USK Praha 73-68 BK Opava rallied past USK Praha to win the quarterfinal series. BK Opava made 22-of-24 free shots (91.7 percent) during the game. They also forced 20 USK Praha turnovers. Point guard Radovan Kouril (185-95) scored 18 points and 6 assists to lead the charge for the winners and the former international point guard Jakub Sirina (186-87, agency: Octagon Europe) chipped in 19 points during the contest. The best for the losing side was Croatian center Mladen Primorac... [read more]
BK Opava rallied past USK Praha to win the quarterfinal series. BK Opava made 22-of-24 free shots (91.7 percent) during the game. They also forced 20 USK Praha turnovers. Point guard Radovan Kouril (185-95) scored 18 points and 6 assists to lead the charge for the winners and the former international point guard Jakub Sirina (186-87, agency: Octagon Europe) chipped in 19 points during the contest. The best for the losing side was Croatian center Mladen Primorac (210-90, agency: PEPI SPORT) with a double-double by scoring 11 points and 13 rebounds and international swingman Jaromir Bohacik (197-92, agency: Octagon Europe) scored 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Both teams had four players each who scored in double figures. Top scorers: BK Opava: J.Sirina 19+2reb+3ast, R.Kouril 18+6ast, V.Bujnoch 13+6reb, J.Blazek 10+4reb, V.Cvek 7+10reb+2ast, R.Klecka 4+1reb+2ast USK Praha: A.Madsen 15+4reb+1ast, P.Safarcik 13+3reb+3ast, J.Bohacik 13+5reb+4ast, M.Primorac 11+13reb+3ast, L.Festr 7+1reb+1ast, M.Mares 4+4reb+1ast
Jan Vesely selected the top Czech playing abroad in last week's games - 3 days ago
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Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of Czechs who are currently playing abroad. This week's number one is an international power forward Jan Vesely (213-90). He contributed to Fenerbahce's victory against the closely-ranked Panathinaikos in the Euroleague in Tuesday night's game.
Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of Czechs who are currently playing abroad.
#1. This week's number one is an international power forward Jan Vesely (213-90, currently plays in Euroleague). He contributed to Fenerbahce's victory against the closely-ranked Panathinaikos (19-11) 71-58 in the Euroleague in Tuesday night's game.
Vesely recorded 8 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 31 minutes on the court.
Fenerbahce Istanbul (18-12) is placed fifth in the Euroleague.
It was his team's first victory after three consecutive loses.
This year Vesely averages: 9.6ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 57.5%(122-212) and FT: 54.2% in 32 games he played so far.
He is currently a member of the Czech Republic senior national team.
#2. Second place goes to an international swingman David Jelinek (195-90, agency: Octagon Europe, currently plays in Spain). Jelinek was the major contributor in Andorra's victory against the 12th-ranked Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (11-17) 96-78 in the Spanish Liga Endesa last Sunday.
He scored 17 points and added 4 passes.
MoraBanc Andorra (15-13) is placed eighth in the Liga Endesa.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
It's Jelinek's first season with the team.
Jelinek has relatively good stats this year: 10.8ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.9apg, 2FGP: 51.7%, 3FGP: 35.0% and FT: 78.8%.
He is in the roster of the Czech Republic senior national team.
#3. The Czech Republic player who performed third best last week abroad was an experienced former international center Ales Chan (215-80, college: Seton Hill, currently plays in Austria). Chan led Raiffeisen Wels to a victory over one of league's weakest teams UBSC Graz (7-24) 84-65 in the Austrian A Bundesliga on Monday night.
He was MVP of the game. Chan had a double-double by scoring 32 points and getting 16 rebounds. He also added 2 blocks in 32 minutes.
WBC Raiffeisen Wels (15-16) are placed sixth in the A Bundesliga.
Chan's team will play only one more game in the Regular Season. And now that game is very crucial.
This year Chan has relatively solid stats: 11.8ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1bpg, 2FGP: 57.9%(114-197) and FT: 79.3% in 28 games.
Former USK Praha starter played for the Czech Republic national team three years ago.
#4. Forward Filip Halada (198-92, currently plays in Slovakia). He could not help Rieker KN (24-16) to beat Kosice (34-6).
Halada scored 5 points and added 3 assists.
Rieker KN was defeated 82-74 on the road by the leading Kosice.
Halada has reliable stats this season: 10.3ppg, 3.6rpg and 1.5apg.
He used to play for the Czech Republic U20 national team
back in 2012.
#5. Former international center Tomas Hampl (215-88, currently plays in Spain) managed to help Igualatorio Cantabria Estela Santander in a victory against the 12th-ranked TAKE Tolosa (7-18) crushing them 89-60 in the Spanish EBA (fourth division) last Saturday.
Hampl recorded 5 points in 19 minutes.
Igualatorio Cantabria Estela Santander (22-3) is placed first in Group A-A.
It was his team's third consecutive victory in a row.
They will play only one more game in the Regular Season. And now that game is quite important.
Hampl's stats this year are: 13.2ppg and 5.7rpg in 25 games.
He used to play for the Czech Republic national team
five years ago.
One more player who has never been selected to any of national teams, but has Czech Republic passport:
#1.Filippo Meccoli Matejca (194-G-92, currently plays in Italy) could not help Valdiceppo (9-21) in their last game on Saturday. Despite Meccoli Matejca's good performance the 13th-placed Valdiceppo (9-21) was badly defeated 80-64 on the road by the higher-ranked Ortona (#10) in the Group D.
He scored 10 points.
The Regular Season already ended.
Meccoli Matejca's overall stats this season are: 9.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.7apg and 1.1spg.
He has a dual citizenship: Czech Republic and Italian.
Other top Czech Republic players, who play abroad:
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