Wizards’ picks: Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton


Jan Vesely, a 6-foot-11 forward from the Czech Republic, is elated after being selected by the Washington Wizards as the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark, N.J. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
June 24, 2011
F Jan Vesely (6-11, 230)

The athletic player from Czech Republic was high on Wizards draft board for his ability to thrive in transition and complement point guard John Wall. A small forward who also can play power forward, Vesely averaged 10.4 points, 4.3 rebounds in Adriatic league and 9.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in Euroleague last season.

Vesely is considered by some scouts to be more NBA ready than fellow European players Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania) or Enes Kanter (Turkey) because of his extensive playing time in the Euroleague the past two seasons. He also has played for the Czech Republic national team and was named European Young Player of the Year for 2010.

Wizards Coach Flip Saunders compared Vesely to Kevin Garnett defensively. Saunders coached Garnett for 10 seasons when both were with Minnesota.

F Chris Singleton (6-9, 230)

Singleton can contribute immediately with his lock-down defense, which made him ACC defensive player of the year the past two seasons with Florida State. With a lengthy wingspan, he can match up with some of the bigger forwards in the league but is agile enough to cover quicker players.

An early entry into the NBA draft following his junior year, Singleton averaged 13.1 points and 6.8 rebounds last season and shot nearly 37 percent from three-point range. Singleton fractured his foot in February and missed six games but came back for the Seminoles’ final three games, all in the NCAA tournament.

Singleton played 32 minutes and had 16 points and nine rebounds in a 72-71 loss to Virginia Commonwealth in the region semifinals.

G Shelvin Mack (6-3, 215)

Mack comes from a winning program at Butler, and even though he’ll be a rookie, that attitude could do wonders for a Wizards locker room with little to draw from in that department. Mack was among the Bulldogs’ most indispensable players over the past two seasons, when Butler advanced to consecutive NCAA championship games.

Declaring for the NBA draft after his junior year, Mack averaged 16 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists last season. He had one of the best games of his college career in an NCAA tournament second-round game against Pittsburgh this season at Verizon Center, scoring 30 points, including 7 of 12 from three-point range, in a 71-70 victory.

Mack was forecasted in many mock drafts as a late first-rounder, so the Wizards were thrilled to get him at No. 34 overall.

— Gene Wang

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