World basketball map: Czech Republic

World basketball map: Czech Republic

We are recalling all foreign players that have ever played in the League, telling about foreign championships and National teams of different countries in World basketball map project. Today we’re going to talk about basketball in Czech Republic. 

Population: 10.7 mln
Players in the history of League: 18
Full list of players: Lubos Barton, Petr Benda, Jiri Welsch, Theodor Dlugos, David Jelinek, Michal Kremen, Martin Kriz, Jakub Kudlacek, Radek Nekas, Lukas Palyza, Martin Peterka, Tomas Pomikalek, Pavel Pumprla, Matej Svoboda, Ladislav Sokolovsky, Vojtech Hruban, Pavel Houska, Dominik Heinzl.

There were 18 Czech players in VTB United League. David Jelinek was the only not to play for Nymburk (member of VTB League in 2011-2016).

Jiri Welsch is the most famous Czech player in VTB United League history. The forward played 4 seasons in the NBA (247 games) and was Nymburk’s captain.

Petr Benda is no.1 Czech player by number of seasons (5) and games (97) played while Vojtech Hruban is no.1 scorer (792 points). David Jelinek is the best Czech player of VTB League by PPG as in 2014/15 season Krasnye Krylia’s guard averaged 11.1 points per game.

In 2012-2016 VTB United League awarded The Best Czech Player prize every season. Petr Benda won it in 2012/13 season, Vojtech Hruban was the best in 2013/14 and 2015/16 while Jiri Welsch was named the best in 2014/15 season.

Basketball in Czech Republic

League: National Basketball League (NBL)
Founded: 1993
Number of teams: 12
League’s web-site

Czech league was founded in 1993. 5 teams have won the league, Nymburk is the most successful team (17 titles). They have been winning the title since 2003/04 season.

Apart from domestic league, Nymburk plays in the Champions league. Opava, Padrubice, Usti nad Labem. Decin and Brno compete in Alpe Adria Cup.

Today NBL consists of 12 teams each of which playes 22 games at the group stage and then 14 games at the second group stage. Quarterfinals and semifinals are played in best-of-7 format, while 3 wins are enough in the finals.

Many VTB League players have Czech league experience, some of whom were even starts of the NBL. Dominez Burnett was 2017/18 season top scorer, and Robert Lowery was no.4 by PPG in 2011/12 season.

Interesting fact

Nymburk played in VTB United League in 2011-2016. The Czech club reached 5 seasons, 115 games, 43 wins (37.4%). Their best result was the 8th place in 2015/16 season.

Czech Republic National team

FIBA rank: 9
FIBA members: since 1993 
Achievements: World Cup appearance, 5 appearances at Eurobasket

Before Czech Republic joined FIBA in 1993, the Czech players had been representing Czechoslovak national team.

Czech Republic made Eurobasket debut in 1999 and they were one of the main sensations of the group stage after wins over Lithuania (78:62) and Greece (83:72). Czech Republic took 11th place, and Lubos Barton became no.2 scorer of Eurobasket (18.7 points) and the best in steals (2.0).

Czech Republic has been playing at all Eurobaskets since 2013, and in 2015 the team showed its best result (7th place) when they won 5 of 9 games including victories over Estonia, Ukraine, Belgium, Croatia and Latvia.

In 2019, Czech rebublic again made a debut to become the sensation of the World Cup. Ronen Ginsburg’s team took the 6th place (of 32) beating teams like Japan, Turkey, Brazil and Poland.

Cezch Republic is ranked 9th by FIBA (6th among European teams)

Most famous Czech players in history

Jiri Zidek Sr. Eurobasket silver and bronze, 6 titles of Czechoslovakia, overall top scorer of Czechoslovak league (10838 points). Two titles of The Best Basketball Player of the Year in Czechoslovakia. Named Best Czechoslovak player of XX century in 2001. In 2019, became the first Czech to be inducted into FIBA Hall of Fame.

Ivan Mrazek. 1946 Eurobasket champion, top scorer and MVP, 3 silver medals of Eurobasket and 6 titles of Czechoslovak league. Member of FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players list, member of Czech Team of 20th Century.

Tomas Satoransky. 2012 NBA draft no. 32, winner of Spanish Supercup. The best Czech player by number of NBA seasons (4), games played (272) and PPG (7.4). Represented Czech Republic at Eurobaskets (2013, 2015, 2017) and World Cup 2019.

Jan Vesely. 2011 NBA draft 6th pick, champion and MVP of Euroleague, 3-time champion of Turkey, 3-time winner of Adriatic league, 3-time champion of Serbia, 3-time winner of Cup of Turkey and 3-time winner of Cup of Serbia. Named best basketball player of Czech Republic of the year twice. 3 seasons in the NBA (162 games) averaging 3.6 points.

Jiri Zidek Jr. 1995 NBA draft no. 22. The first ever Czech player in the NBA. In 1995, the center won NCAA with Los Angeles California University, 4 years later won Euroleague with Zalgiris. Zidek has been representing VTB United League in Euroleague since 2013.

Dmitriy Kolinov