When Tomas Satoransky participated in a pre-draft workout for the Washington Wizards on June 15, the 6-foot-7 guard boasted afterward that he could beat Jan Vesely, the club’s No. 6 pick last season who’s also from the Czech Republic, in a dunk contest.
At the time, it was a reach to think the two would have an opportunity to compete in such a competition in the District considering the Wizards gave little indication who they would select with the 32nd pick in the June 28 NBA draft.
Team president Ernie Grunfeld wound up drafting Satoransky with the Wizards’ second-round pick, and during the first days of minicamp at Verizon Center, discussion resurfaced as to which player is in fact the more accomplished dunker.
Vesely issued the first salvo when asked that very question, replying: “You need to ask him, but I’ll beat him for sure.”
Vesely, 22, was a crowd favorite at Verizon Center if not for his shooting then for the 6-foot-11 forward’s tenacity and occasional dunks that brought fans out of their seats.
During the first three days of minicamp, Vesely devoted virtually all of his time during the post-workout shootaround period to practicing jumpers and foul shooting. His shot appears more consistent, and even Coach Randy Wittman said Vesely is developing in that regard.
“I saw confidence, which I saw at the end of the year,” Wittman said. “We talked to him at the year-end meetings, and what he needs to do and how he needs to continue to grow, and he’s got to take that step now in summer league and not be hesitant to take an 18-, 20-foot open jump shot, creating off the dribble.”
Satoransky, meantime, has made shots regularly during training camp as he learns how to play more effectively without the ball in his hands. Satoransky, 20, has played point guard for most of his basketball life, so part of this trainng camp has included repetitions in cutting and moving without the basketball.
As for that long-anticipated dunking duel with his countryman, Satoransky is waiting for just the right moment.
“I don’t want him to make, you know, like injuries or something,” Satoransky said. “Let’s see if we’re going to have time for it.”
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