At just 24 years of age BK JIP Pardubice guard Evaldas Zabas (188-PG-88) is the youngest player in the Mattoni NBL's top-five scoring leaders. Currently averaging over 17 points a game, the Lithuanian native leads his third-place Pardubice club in scoring, steals, free-throw percentage and is tied in assists all while shooting an impressive 58% from the field. In his first season in the Czech Republic the 6-2 Zabas has exceeded fans expectations and helped the club maintain its top-of-the-standings reputation, even with the budget related departures of mainstays Marcus Arnold and Maurice Hampton last season. Despite his age, Zabas arrived in the Czech Republic with an impressive resume, including leading the Swedish Basketligan in scoring in 2011-12 as well as incredibly productive stops in the United Kingdom and Germany. A former member of the Lithuanian U20 National Team back in 2008, Zabas spent some time to talk with Eurobasket.com about his experiences and success so far with Pardubice.
Q. With the basic stage coming to a close would you say you are satisfied with your and team's performance so far?
A. Yes we are definitely satisfied with what we accomplished so far this season, but I believe that the strongest and the hardest competition is yet to come. Now weve played each team a couple of times and there are no secrets. Everyone knows what plays you are going to run and what your game plan is going to be. So while we are satisfied with our performance thus far, we know that there is a lot of work left to be done.
Q. What factors led you to decide to sign with Pardubice in the off-season?
A. I have always heard good things about Czech basketball so when the opportunity came up I didn't think twice. I think its a great league, with great competition and a lot of high quality players. Also, Pardubice was a Euro Challenge team last year so when they offered me a spot I knew that this organization was serious about winning and they know how to treat their players well.
Q. What did you know about the club and the Czech Republic prior to arriving?
A. I didn't know too much. Like I said, I knew they played in Euro Challenge last year and that they were always near the top of the table in the standings.
Q. What has been your biggest adjustment to life here both on and off the court?
A. I would say communicating with players on and of the court has been the hardest things to get through here and I believe that is part of the reason why we struggled at the beginning of the season. With language barriers it takes longer than usual for a team to gel but everyone has worked really hard to come together and to understand each other. Now we are all on the same page, and it shows!
Q. Your teammate Corey Muirhead (197-F-83, college: W.Carolina) is having one of the best all-around seasons in the entire league, what has it been like playing together with him? In your opinion why has his game developed so much this season?
A. Corey is a great guy and an amazing player. Its been great playing with him and learning from him. His experience really shows in practice and games. His game has developed so much this year because he works so hard for this team. I can tell each and every day how much he cares about winning. No one likes losing but Corey is really one of those guys that would do anything to win - no matter what it takes. He can do everything - defend, rebound, score or whatever else the coach asks of him.
Q. Your scoring prowess has translated to every league you have played in, whether in the UK, Sweden or here. Would you like to share your secrets?
A. It's no secret. Hard work pays off and you get out what you put in. Basketball is a game that can't be perfected but as long as I'm getting better every year, thats all that matters to me. Also, it starts with my love for the game. Without that, I could never put in the work that I do.
Q. When you are off the court, what are some of your hobbies and pastimes?
A. Well its not quite a hobby, but I do like my sleep. Other than that, I love movies, music, video games, and Im always studying the game and figuring out ways to get better. In the Summer, my hobby is getting better at the Athlete Institute at ACTS in Orangeville, Ontario, Canada. Its where I work on my craft with other pro players.
Q. The A1 group stage will of course pit the top teams in the league against each other. What will you and the team need to do in order to secure a top finish?
A. Just keep working hard and playing like weve been playing. At this point, it is about who wants it more. Also, it will be very important for us to keep trusting each other and playing like a team.
Q. What is your status for next season? Will you continue with Pardubice or look to further your career in another country?
A. I can't tell you anything about next season yet. I dont really think that far ahead because the second you start doing that it takes away from what my mission is right now. I will just keep on working hard and let my agent do his job.
Jan Vesely selected the top Czech playing abroad in last week's games - 14 hours 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:
NBL Round 5 of Quarter-Finals. BK Decin and Pardubice join semifinal stage - 3 days ago
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BK Decin - BK Kolin 82-48 BK Decin thumped visiting BK Kolin to advance into the semifinal stage. BK Decin looked well-organized offensively handing out 28 assists comparing to just 8 passes made by BK Kolin's players. Point guard Ondrej Siska (190-93) stepped up and scored 14 points and 6 rebounds for the winners and the former international Jakub Houska (207-82) chipped in 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. American forward Lee Skinner (198-92, college: Wofford) responded with 13 poi... [read more]
BK Decin thumped visiting BK Kolin to advance into the semifinal stage. BK Decin looked well-organized offensively handing out 28 assists comparing to just 8 passes made by BK Kolin's players. Point guard Ondrej Siska (190-93) stepped up and scored 14 points and 6 rebounds for the winners and the former international Jakub Houska (207-82) chipped in 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. American forward Lee Skinner (198-92, college: Wofford) responded with 13 points and 7 rebounds and point guard Adam Ciz (192-91) scored 15 points. BK Kolin's coach Predrag Benacek gave up on the game allowing to play twelve players seeing no chance for a win. Top scorers: BK Decin: O.Siska 14+6reb+3ast, L.Palyza 11+3ast, T.Pomikalek 10+5reb+2ast, L.Bazant 10+1reb+3ast, J.Houska 10+7reb+4ast, S.Jezek 9+3reb+2ast BK Kolin: A.Ciz 15+4reb, L.Skinner 13+7reb, C.Dixon 8+3reb+2ast, G.Kerr 4+4reb, S.Licartovsky 3, J.Hunt 3+2reb+4ast
BK Pardubice outgunned Svitavy and sealed their semifinal appearance. BK Pardubice forced 20 Basketbal Svitavy turnovers and outrebounded them 36-25 including 26 on the defensive glass. They looked well-organized offensively handing out 25 assists. American forward Joseph Wall (199-89, college: Seattle Pacific, agency: Diamond Sports) stepped up and scored 14 points and 6 rebounds for the winners and Slovakian Dusan Pandula (196-84) chipped in 16 points and 4 assists. Four BK Pardubice players scored in double figures. American power forward Brett Roseboro (208-91, college: UMBC, agency: Inception Sports) responded with 23 points and 6 rebounds and the other American import forward Hunter Mickelson (208-92, college: Kansas) scored 8 points and 4 assists. The winner was already known earlier in the game, so both coaches allowed to play the bench players saving starting five for next games. Top scorers: BK Pardubice: D.Pandula 16+2reb+4ast, D.Skranc 14+2reb, J.Wall 14+6reb+3ast, D.Burnett 12+2reb+3ast, K.Svrdlik 12+8reb, V.Pulpan 9+1reb+3ast Svitavy: B.Roseboro 23+6reb+1ast, H.Mickelson 8+4reb+4ast, P.Slezak 8+2reb+2ast, B.Smithson 7+4reb+3ast, J.Vucica 4+3reb+1ast, J.Jelinek 3+1ast
USK Praha held off BK Opava at home court to cut the deficit in the series. USK Praha outrebounded BK Opava 44-30 including a 30-18 advantage in defensive rebounds. International swingman Jaromir Bohacik (197-92, agency: Octagon Europe) stepped up and scored 13 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists for the winners and Croatian center Mladen Primorac (210-90, agency: PEPI SPORT) chipped in 9 points and 9 rebounds. The former international point guard Jakub Sirina (186-87, agency: Octagon Europe) responded with 14 points and the former international guard Radim Klecka (189-90) scored 13 points (was perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line). Both coaches used bench players which allowed the starters a little rest for the next games. Top scorers: USK Praha: M.Mares 14+1reb+2ast, J.Bohacik 13+7reb+6ast, P.Safarcik 12+1reb+2ast, M.Primorac 9+9reb+1ast, L.Festr 6+6reb+2ast, A.Madsen 6+4reb+2ast BK Opava: J.Sirina 14+3reb+2ast, R.Klecka 13+1reb+2ast, J.Blazek 7+1reb, V.Bujnoch 6+4reb, F.Zbranek 5+2reb+2ast, R.Kouril 3+3reb+2ast
Results and Stats from 1Liga Round 1 of Quarter-Finals - 4 days ago
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Zlin - Loko Plzen 66-77 Loko Plzen upset Zlin on the road to take the lead in the quarterfinal series. BK Loko Plzen dominated down low during the game scoring 48 of its points in the paint compared to SKB Zlin's 28. Naturalized Uruguayan forward Martin Volf (198-80) fired a double-double by scoring 26 points and 10 rebounds (made all of his seven free throws) for the winners. Power forward Jaroslav Kovanda (203-82) chipped in 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists (on 8-of-10 shooting from... [read more]
Loko Plzen upset Zlin on the road to take the lead in the quarterfinal series. BK Loko Plzen dominated down low during the game scoring 48 of its points in the paint compared to SKB Zlin's 28. Naturalized Uruguayan forward Martin Volf (198-80) fired a double-double by scoring 26 points and 10 rebounds (made all of his seven free throws) for the winners. Power forward Jaroslav Kovanda (203-82) chipped in 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists (on 8-of-10 shooting from the field). David Nehoda (193-91) produced 23 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists and the former international forward Jaroslav Prasil (200-80, agency: Octagon Europe) added 12 points and 7 rebounds respectively for lost side. Top scorers: Loko Plzen: M.Volf 26+10reb+1ast, J.Kovanda 18+5reb+4ast, O.Fleischhans 11+3reb+2ast, K.Riha 8+3reb+3ast, J.Lejsek 8+7reb+4ast, M.David 4+3reb+1ast Zlin: D.Nehoda 23+7reb+6ast, J.Prasil 12+7reb, T.Voslajer 10+6reb+1ast, M.Susak 8+4reb+3ast, M.Jedovnicky 7+3reb+1ast, J.Krutilek 6+2reb+4ast
Nymburk topped Basket Kosice in the opener. Worth to mention a great performance of international center Martin Peterka (205-95) who helped to win the game recording a double-double by scoring 42 points (!!!) and 15 rebounds (on 18-of-22 shooting from the field). Forward Matej Svoboda (200-96) contributed with 12 points and 5 rebounds for the winners. Four Nymburk B players scored in double figures. Forward Jan Kratochvil (199-82) answered with 19 points and 9 rebounds and guard Marek Burian (196-90) added 18 points and 8 rebounds in the effort for Basket Kosice. Basket Kosice's coach rotated ten players in this game, but that didn't help. Top scorers: Nymburk B: M.Peterka 42+15reb, M.Svoboda 12+5reb+2ast, E.Kotasek 12+3reb+2ast, T.Dlugos 11+4reb+3ast, L.Rovensky 5+1reb, M.Kolar 4+4reb+1ast Basket Kosice: J.Kratochvil 19+9reb+2ast, M.Burian 18+8reb+1ast, D.Adasek 10+2reb+3ast, J.Nekolny 9+3reb+1ast, J.Bohm 9+5reb+1ast, M.Bernath 8+11reb
Slavoj Litomirice rallied past Olomouc Bbal for the opening victory in the series. Slavoj BK Litomerice dominated down low during the game scoring 52 of its points in the paint compared to Olomouc Bbal's 24. Slavoj BK Litomerice forced 23 Olomouc Bbal turnovers. Center Martin Klimes (203-83, college: Vermont) stepped up and scored 16 points and 9 rebounds for the winners and point guard Jan Sotnar (185-87) chipped in 10 points and 6 assists. Slavoj BK Litomerice's coach felt very confident that he used entire bench which allowed the starters a little rest for the next games. At the losing side Jiri Dedek (190-95) responded with 13 points and 8 rebounds and forward Vit Smerda (198-97) scored 11 points and 6 rebounds. Top scorers: Slavoj Litom.: M.Klimes 16+9reb+2ast, M.Sotnar 10+4reb+1ast, J.Sotnar 10+3reb+6ast, M.Slunecko 9+6reb+1ast, A.Zampach 9+8reb+2ast, M.Bambas 6+4reb+1ast Olomouc Bbal: J.Dedek 13+8reb+1ast, V.Smerda 11+6reb+1ast, E.Scripcaru 8+7reb, J.Sedmik 7+5reb+5ast, A.Choleva 6+3reb, R.Jurka 5+5reb+1ast
Sokol Hradec Kralove held off Sokol Slapanice for 1-0 lead. Sokol Hradec Kralove outrebounded Sokol Slapanice 32-12 including 21 on the defensive glass. Point guard Petr Andres (179-93) stepped up and scored 21 points and 8 assists for the winners and Samuel Faifr (203-93, agency: Octagon Europe) chipped in 22 points and 8 rebounds. Sokol Hradec Kralove's coach used an eleven-player rotation and allowed the starting five to rest. At the losing side swingman Ivo Pavlicik (193-93) responded with 18 points (on 7-of-9 shooting from the field) and point guard Marek Licenik (192-96) scored 12 points and 5 assists. Both teams had four players each who scored in double figures. Top scorers: Sokol H.K.: S.Faifr 22+8reb, P.Andres 21+3reb+8ast, O.Peterka 20+7reb+1ast, D.Sirek 14+3reb+3ast, T.Kirsbaum 9+1reb+1ast, P.Majerik 6+2reb Sokol Slapanice: I.Pavlicik 18+1reb, M.Licenik 12+1reb+5ast, M.Vyroubal 11, M.Muller 10+5reb+2ast, J.Rotrekl 7+1reb, R.Hilser 7+3reb+2ast
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