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.
JBC MMCITE Brno (NBL) tabbed experienced 37-year old Bosnian ex-international center Ermin Jazvin (209-117kg-80, agency: Mansfield and Associates). He played recently at Bashkimi in Kosovan SuperLeague, but left the team last month. In 5 games he averaged 11.8ppg, 6.4rpg and 1.0apg this season. Jazvin also played 4 games in Balkan League where he had 7.8ppg, 8.3rpg and 1.3apg. The most of last season he spent at Kaposvari in Hungarian A Division. In 23 games he recorded 11.4ppg, 6.9rpg an... [read more]
JBC MMCITE Brno (NBL) tabbed experienced 37-year old Bosnian ex-international center Ermin Jazvin (209-117kg-80, agency: Mansfield and Associates). He played recently at Bashkimi in Kosovan SuperLeague, but left the team last month. In 5 games he averaged 11.8ppg, 6.4rpg and 1.0apg this season. Jazvin also played 4 games in Balkan League where he had 7.8ppg, 8.3rpg and 1.3apg. The most of last season he spent at Kaposvari in Hungarian A Division. In 23 games he recorded 11.4ppg, 6.9rpg and 1.3apg. Jazvin also spent pre-season at Vienna in Austrian A Bundesliga earlier that year. In three games he got 10.7ppg, 7.7rpg and 3.0apg. His team won Romanian Cup in 2014. Jazvin also represented Bosnia at the European Championships in Lithuania six years ago. His stats at that event were 2 games: 0pts, 1.0rpg. Jazvin is a very experienced player. He has played also professionally in Croatia (Jolly), Germany (EnBW Ludwigsburg), Greece (Iraklis), Italy, Poland (Energa Czarni), Russia (Spartak Primorie Vladivostok), Spain (CB Granada), Ukraine (DniproAzot), Romania (UBT Cluj Napoca and CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu) and Bosnia (HKK Zrinjski HT Mostar). It may be one of last seasons in his extensive career, which he may end at MMCITE Brno. Let's have closer look into Jazvin's outlook:
He has ease hand what gives him high percent of realisation. Very strong and tough defence player. His speed and technics of the play are on a high level that's why he is good shooting guard.
Blake Schilb selected the top Czech playing abroad in last week's games - 4 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 experienced international swingman Blake Schilb (201-83). He could not help Galatasaray (13-5) to beat Banvit (13-5).
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 experienced international swingman Blake Schilb (201-83, college: Loyola, IL, currently plays in Turkey). He could not help Galatasaray (13-5) to beat Banvit (13-5).
Schilb scored 5 points and added 7 passes in 33 minutes on the court.
Galatasaray lost 64-79 on the road to the lower-ranked (#4) Banvit.
Schilb has relatively good stats this year: 10.9ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.5apg, 3FGP: 51.1%(23-45) in 15 games he played so far.
He is a naturalized American.
Schilb is currently a member of the Czech Republic senior national team. He used to play for CEZ Basketball Nymburk in Czech Republic league.
#2. Second place goes to former international center Ales Chan (215-80, college: Seton Hill, currently plays in Austria). Chan was the major contributor in a Raiffeisen Wels' victory against the league outsider Dukes (4-17) 74-56 in the Austrian A Bundesliga last Sunday.
He scored 13 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
WBC Raiffeisen Wels (11-9) are placed fourth in the A Bundesliga.
They ended the series of three consecutive loses.
This season Chan has relatively solid stats: 10.3ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1bpg, 2FGP: 55.1%(75-136), 3FGP: 36.4% and FT: 75.9%.
Former USK Praha starter played for the Czech Republic national team in 2014.
#3. The Czech Republic player who performed third best last week abroad was former U20 international forward Filip Halada (198-92, currently plays in Slovakia). He led Rieker KN to a 2-point victory against the closely-ranked Prievidza (20-9) 101-99 in the Slovakian SBL on Tuesday night.
Halada scored 12 points in a mere 19 minutes.
MBK Rieker Com Therm Komarno (17-13) is placed fifth in the SBL.
It was his team's third consecutive victory in a row.
Halada has reliable stats this year: 11.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 50.5%, 3FGP: 38.1% and FT: 85.7% in 26 games.
He played for the Czech Republic U20 national team five years ago.
#4. Forward Petr Herman (208-94, currently plays college basketball in the States) contributed to an easy victory against the Pepperdine University (5-9) crushing them 82-61 in the NCAA in Saturday night's game.
Herman scored 9 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and made 3 blocks.
The Loyola Marymount University has rather weak 4-9 conference record this season.
There are only two games left until the end of the NCAA Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
Herman's overall stats this season are: 3.5ppg and 2.7rpg.
He used to play for the Czech Republic U18 national team
back in 2012.
#5. Former U18 international forward David Jelinek (203-97, agency: Octagon Europe, currently plays in NCAA2) was not able to help the Northwood University (3-16) in their last game on Thursday. Despite his good performance the Northwood University was defeated 77-68 in Detroit by the Wayne State University, MI.
Jelinek scored 12 points.
His team will play only one more game in the NCAA2 Regular Season. And now that game is very crucial.
Jelinek's overall stats this season are: 4.5ppg and 2.3rpg.
He used to play for the Czech Republic U18 national team
two years ago.
#6. Forward Jan Svandrlik (201-94, currently studies in the States) was not able to secure a victory for the Iona (10-6) in their game against the Rider University (13-3) in the NCAA.
Svandrlik scored 9 points in only 9 minutes.
But the Iona was badly defeated 103-85 in Lawrenceville by the Rider University.
There are only two games left until the end of the NCAA Regular Season. So now every game will be important.
This year Svandrlik averages: 2.6ppg and 2.2rpg in 22 games.
He is a former U20 international player as he played for the Czech Republic team three years ago.
#7. Former international center Tomas Hampl (215-88, currently plays in Spain) led Estela to a victory against the sixth-ranked Santurtzi (10-7) 72-58 in the Spanish EBA (fourth division) on Saturday night.
Hampl had a double-double by scoring 11 points and getting 10 rebounds in 24 minutes.
Igualatorio Cantabria Estela Santander (16-1) is placed first in Group A-A.
It's Hampl's first season with the team.
His stats this year are: 14.1ppg and 6.1rpg in 17 games.
Hampl used to play for the Czech Republic national team
five years ago.
#8. Point guard Vit Krejci (193-0, currently plays in Spain) managed to help Simply Olivar Zaragoza in a victory against the ninth-ranked JAC Sants (7-10) crushing them 91-65 in the Spanish EBA (fourth division) last Saturday.
Krejci scored only 3 points, grabbed 4 boards, dished 3 assists and stole 3 balls in 29 minutes.
Simply Olivar Zaragoza (5-12) is placed 14th in Group C-A.
This year Krejci's overall stats are: 4.4ppg, 1.6rpg and 1.4apg in 16 games.
He plays currently for the Czech Republic U16 national team.
The list of other players, who all have Czech Republic passport but never been selected to any of Czech Republic national teams:
#1.Jaroslav Tyrna (207-C-86, agency: Octagon Europe, college: New Orleans, currently plays in Germany) contributed to Sixers' victory against the eighth-ranked Rendsburg (5-9) 79-73 in the German Regionalliga (fourth division) last Saturday.
Tyrna scored 7 points, had 7 rebounds and dished 4 assists in 30 minutes.
BSW Sixers Sandersdorf (11-4) is placed third in North group.
Tyrna's stats this year are: 10.5ppg, 7.3rpg and 2.5apg in 15 games he played so far.
#2.Lubos Novy (204-C-91, currently plays in Germany) led Vilsbiburg to a 2-point victory over the second-ranked Treuchtlingen (14-5) 80-78 in the German Regionalliga (fourth division) last Sunday.
Novy was MVP of the game. He recorded a double-double by scoring 23 points and getting 11 rebounds.
Baskets Vilsbiburg (13-7) is placed fourth in South-East group.
It's Novy's sixth season with the team.
Novy has individually a very good year with high stats. He averages: 16.8ppg, 6.5rpg and 1.4apg.
#3.John Boyer (185-PG-88, agency: Dynamics Global Management, college: Buffalo, currently plays in Germany) is a teammate of previously mentioned Lubos Novy and both played together in the last German Regionalliga game.
Boyer led Vilsbiburg to a 2-point victory against the second-ranked Treuchtlingen (14-5) 80-78.
He recorded a double-double by scoring 13 points and getting 11 rebounds. Boyer also added 5 assists and 4 steals.
This season Boyer has very high stats. He averages: 16.1ppg, 6.8rpg, 7.1apg and 5.0spg.
Boyer is a naturalized American.
Worth to mention he played also at Eurobasket Summer League, which helped him get the job in pro basketball. He used to play for BK Decin in Czech Republic league.
#4.Adrian Melski (192-G/F-92, currently plays in Germany). Melski could not help Zwickau (7-13) to beat Coburg (18-1).
He scored 7 points.
The 11th-placed Zwickau (7-13) was crushed 113-83 on the road by the leading Coburg in the South-East group.
Melski's total stats this season are: 7.8ppg, 4.2rpg and 1.2spg.
#5.Dan Milota (201-F, currently plays in NCAA2) managed to help Texas A&M International University in a victory against the Saint Mary's (TX) University 66-53 in the NCAA2 in Saturday night's game.
He recorded only 4 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 29 minutes.
The Texas A&M International University has a solid 8-3 record this season.
There are only two games left until the end of the NCAA2 Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
This year Milota's total stats are: 6.8ppg and 2.2rpg in 11 games.
#6.Filippo Meccoli Matejca (194-G-92, currently plays in Italy) was not able to help Valdiceppo (4-16) in their last game on Sunday. Despite his good performance the 15th-placed Valdiceppo was defeated 69-61 at home by the much higher-ranked Senigallia (#8) in the Group D.
Meccoli Matejca was the second best scorer with 14 points.
Meccoli Matejca's total stats this season are: 8.4ppg, 2.3rpg and 1.9apg.
He has a dual citizenship: Czech Republic and Italian.
CEZ Basketball Nymburk (NBL) agreed terms with 27-year old American power forward Kenny Hall (206-104kg-90, college: Tennessee). He started the season at ASA Koroivos Amaliadas in Greek A1 league. In 18 games he averaged 13.4ppg and 6.7rpg, while shooting 60.1% from the field and 54.5% from the line.
Three years ago (a year after he left the college) Hall was drafted by the Delaware 87ers (D-League) in fourth round (55th overall).
He attended University of Tennessee until 2013 and it is... [read more]
CEZ Basketball Nymburk (NBL) agreed terms with 27-year old American power forward Kenny Hall (206-104kg-90, college: Tennessee). He started the season at ASA Koroivos Amaliadas in Greek A1 league. In 18 games he averaged 13.4ppg and 6.7rpg, while shooting 60.1% from the field and 54.5% from the line. Three years ago (a year after he left the college) Hall was drafted by the Delaware 87ers (D-League) in fourth round (55th overall). He attended University of Tennessee until 2013 and it is his fourth season in pro basketball. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Hall won D-League championship title in 2015. He was also voted Eurobasket.com All-Slovakian League Honorable Mention back in 2014. Hall has played previously professionally in Slovakia (MBK Rieker Com Therm Komarno) and D-League (Santa Cruz Warriors).
The move corresponds with the planned departure of Diamon Simpson (204-F-87, college: St.Mary's, CA), who's last game under contract was tonight in the Basketball Champions League (BCL) versus Sassari (win 84-63, but lose on aggregate 156-157). Nymburk had known that the former St. Mary's big man had a contract valid only until February 22, so Hall had been someone they looked at to fill in as a younger and taller option. The 29-year old Simpson was very solid during his time with Nymburk, averaging 8.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in domestic league play (15 games), while upping his averages in 14 BCL games to 9.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.
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