We had the opportunity to interview Jan Vesely, a star of the EuroLeague with Fenerbahçe Beko Istanbul. Many topics covered, from Fenerbahçe family to the difference between Coach Obradovic and Coach Kokoskov.
Jan, Six win in a row.. Fenerbahçe is back?
“I would say that Fenerbahçe is back in the race for the Playoffs. Is still a long season to go… but we have to play on the same level and continue to work together.”
Jan Vesely, January EuroLeague MVP. What has changed for Fenerbahçe compared to the start of the season?
“I‘ve been trying to play at this level since the beginning of the season. It’s not easy with a new coach, new players… everybody has to understand each other, the qualities and what every player can do for the team. We have to continue like this.”
What kind of coach is Igor Kokoskov? Are there any specific difference between him and Zejko Obradovic?
“It’s very hard to compare Coaches. He’s different from Zeljko, he’s coming from the NBA mentality. It took some time to understand each other, as is normal. It wasn’t so easy because we had been coming for many years with a coach like Obradovic. But now he is proving that his ideas apply very well to a group like Fenerbahçe.”
How Zeljko Obradovic contribute to you during these years? What is the one thing, on or off the court, where he has helped you the most?
“You know, I was coming from the NBA where I didn’t play so much. First of all, he gave me the opportunity to play again in a high level basketball. It was very easy to talk with him on and off the court, even if sometimes it happened not to fully understand each other, which can obviously happen because we both want to win games.”
You have greatly improved your free throw technique. Is it simply training or is there some “secret”?
“Just working! Is more a mental thing.. now I’m more mature and I play free mentality. That’s the secret…”
Many changes for Fenerbahçe this summer. “Senators” from the team such as Sloukas, Datome and Kalinic have left. But not you and Nando De Colo. Have you and Nando ever talked about this choice?
“No, I haven’t talked to anyone in the summer (laughs ed). I think that every player must freely make their own decisions. Nando and I decided to stay. Datome, Sloukas and Kalinic didn’t, but we have to respect all decisions.”
How is your relationship with the Fener world, fans and with Istanbul?
“Super, as I’ve been here for 7 years! I have a good relationship with everyone. My family is living here, my son was born in Istanbul, is basically home for me. I will always have great memories of Istanbul in my life.”
What can you say about your future? As player, and also when you’re decide to retire.
“That’s a topic that is coming often to my mind, also in the conversations with my family and my friends. What am I gonna do when I finish the player career? I still don’t know. I’ll enjoy my family and my wife. We’ll try to find a business to open… I don’t see myself as a Coach… I don’t see a Jan Vesely Coach.”
Will you end your career at Fenerbahçe?
“If the situation is right and they want it also, why not? That’s one of the possibilities. I’m 30 years old and I have many years in front of me. I have another year and half of contract with Fenerbahçe, we’ll see what happen!”
NBA chapter. You don’t remember that adventure with enthusiasm. What went wrong in your opinion?
“When I was drafted, it was the year of the NBA lockout and I honestly wasn’t ready for that jump. I don’t regret anything, because that experience helped me a lot to grow. I think it is much more important for a young European player to be chosen by a remarkable organization than with a higher pick.”
Czech Republic has become a permanent team in the world basketball elite, also thanks to you and Tomas Satoransky. Tokyo Olympics is the next Goal?
“We are a group that try to give our best on the court every time and we will do our best to go to the Tokyo Olympics, but it won’t be easy with such a complicated Pre-Olympic tournament. We have opportunities, but we will do our best to achieve this goal.”