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.
NH Ostrava - BK Prostejov 86-66 (2-2)
NH Ostrava force the decider and tied the Semifinals at 2-2. The hosts trailed by 4 points after first quarter, but they stormed back to get the 7-point lead at the halftime and eventually won the game 86-66. NH Ostrava outrebounded BK Prostejov 39-25 including 26 on the defensive glass [read more]
NH Ostrava force the decider and tied the Semifinals at 2-2. The hosts trailed by 4 points after first quarter, but they stormed back to get the 7-point lead at the halftime and eventually won the game 86-66. NH Ostrava outrebounded BK Prostejov 39-25 including 26 on the defensive glass. Worth to mention a great performance of American point guard Rahsaan Ames (184-78, college: Shaw) who helped to win the game recording 14 points and 5 assists and the other American import forward Jeremiah Wilson (203-88, college: Tarleton St.) who added 15 points and 6 rebounds during the contest. Four NH Ostrava players scored in double figures. At the losing side international Kamil Svrdlik (206-86, college: Fair Dickinson) responded with 16 points and 5 rebounds and swingman Jaromir Bohacik (197-92) scored 12 points and 4 assists. Top scorers: NH Ostrava: J.Wilson 15+6reb+1ast, A.Dufault 14+6reb, R.Ames 14+4reb+5ast, M.Gniadek 13+6reb+2ast, F.Zbranek 10+3reb+1ast, A.Ciz 9+4reb+4ast BK Prostejov: K.Svrdlik 16+5reb+1ast, O.Kohout 13+5reb+1ast, J.Bohacik 12+3reb+4ast, R.Marko 8+5reb+1ast, P.Slezak 7+1reb, F.Smid 5+3reb
CEZ Nymburk sweep NBL Semi-Final series - May 15, 2013
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BK Prostejov - NH Ostrava 81-77 (2-1)
27 personal fouls committed by NH Ostrava helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. It was a great evening for forward Ondrej Kohout (204-91) who led his team to a victory with a double-double by scoring 19 points and 12 rebounds. Slovakian Dusan Pandula (196-84) helped adding 25 points. Four BK Prostejov players scored in double figures. The best for the losing side was American forward Jeremiah Wilson (203-88, college: Tarleton St [read more]
27 personal fouls committed by NH Ostrava helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. It was a great evening for forward Ondrej Kohout (204-91) who led his team to a victory with a double-double by scoring 19 points and 12 rebounds. Slovakian Dusan Pandula (196-84) helped adding 25 points. Four BK Prostejov players scored in double figures. The best for the losing side was American forward Jeremiah Wilson (203-88, college: Tarleton St.) with a double-double by scoring 29 points and 16 rebounds (on 8-of-10 shooting from the field) and the other American import forward Austin Dufault (205-90, college: Colorado) scored 18 points and 5 steals. Top scorers: BK Prostejov: D.Pandula 25+3reb+1ast, O.Kohout 19+12reb+1ast, R.Marko 13+5reb+3ast, P.Slezak 12+3reb+1ast, K.Svrdlik 7+10reb+1ast, J.Bohacik 5+3reb+4ast NH Ostrava: J.Wilson 29+16reb+1ast, A.Dufault 18+2reb+1ast, M.Gniadek 11+3reb+1ast, A.Ciz 9+3ast, J.Stehlik 4, R.Ames 3+5reb+6ast
CEZ Nymburk sweep NBL Semi-Final series against Pardubice. In the third game CEZ Nymburk dominated down low during the game scoring 48 of its points in the paint compared to BK Pardubice's 20. CEZ Nymburk forced 21 BK Pardubice turnovers. It was an exceptional evening for the former international power forward Pavel Houska (203-84) who led the winners and scored 16 points and 7 rebounds (on 7-of-9 shooting from the field). American point guard Tweety Carter (180-86, college: Baylor) accounted for 11 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for the winning side. Four CEZ Nymburk players scored in double figures. Martin Peterka (201-95) came up with 7 points and 7 rebounds and forward Ondrej Peterka (195-91) added 9 points respectively for BK Pardubice in the defeat. 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: CEZ Nymburk: P.Houska 16+7reb+3ast, T.Carter 11+5reb+5ast, M.Efevberha 11+3reb+2ast, R.Rancik 11+5reb+4ast, J.Welsch 11+1reb+3ast, V.Hruban 9+3reb BK Pardubice: O.Peterka 9+3reb+1ast, P.Bohacik 8+5reb, C.Muirhead 7+4reb, M.Peterka 7+7reb+1ast, M.Carnecky 6+3reb+3ast, S.Faifr 5+3reb
CEZ Nymburk steps closer to the Final - May 11, 2013
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NH Ostrava - BK Prostejov 96-85 (1-1)
The game was mostly controlled by NH Ostrava. BK Prostejov managed to win second period 23-22. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. NH Ostrava shot the lights out from three sinking 14 long-distance shots on high 53.8 percentage. 24 personal fouls committed by BK Prostejov helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. American forward Jeremiah Wilson (203-88, college: Tarleton St [read more]
The game was mostly controlled by NH Ostrava. BK Prostejov managed to win second period 23-22. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. NH Ostrava shot the lights out from three sinking 14 long-distance shots on high 53.8 percentage. 24 personal fouls committed by BK Prostejov helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. American forward Jeremiah Wilson (203-88, college: Tarleton St.) had a double-double by scoring 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the charge for the winners and the other American import guard Chadwick-Farrell Barnes (190-83, college: New Orleans) chipped in 19 points and 5 rebounds during the contest. International Kamil Svrdlik (206-86, college: Fair Dickinson) responded with 25 points and 9 rebounds (on 9-of-10 shooting from the field) and Slovakian Dusan Pandula (196-84) scored 14 points and 6 rebounds. Both teams had four players each who scored in double figures. Top scorers: BK Prostejov: K.Svrdlik 25+9reb+1ast, P.Slezak 18+1reb, R.Marko 16+3reb+1ast, D.Pandula 14+6reb+1ast, O.Kohout 7+7reb+2ast, J.Bohacik 5+5reb+2ast NH Ostrava: J.Wilson 20+10reb, C.Barnes 19+5reb+1ast, J.Stehlik 11+2reb+3ast, R.Ames 11+2reb+8ast, F.Zbranek 10+2reb+2ast, M.Gniadek 9+2reb+2ast
CEZ Nymburk steps closer to the Final after 88:59 in Game 2. The game without a history. CEZ Nymburk led from the first minutes and controlled entire game increasing their lead in each quarter. American point guard Tweety Carter (180-86, college: Baylor) notched 17 points and 4 assists to lead the effort and Nigerian-American guard Michael Efevberha (197-84, college: CS Northridge) supported him with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Even 16 points and 4 assists by Canadian-Jamaican forward Corey Muirhead (197-83, college: W.Carolina) did not help to save the game for BK Pardubice. American center Travis Nelson (208-87, college: Minnesota St.) added 10 points and 9 rebounds for the hosts. 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: C.Muirhead 16+3reb+4ast, T.Nelson 10+9reb, Z.Pospisil 9+4reb, E.Zabas 7+3reb+2ast, J.Soula 5+1reb, P.Bohacik 4+7reb+1ast CEZ Nymburk: T.Carter 17+2reb+4ast, M.Efevberha 14+6reb+1ast, J.Welsch 11+4reb+1ast, L.Palyza 10, R.Rancik 8+2reb+1ast, T.Pomikalek 7+7reb+1ast
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