The Czech Republic is heading to the Olympic Games helped the steady hand of Tomas Satoransky
By Johnny Askounis at eurohoops.net /firstname.lastname@example.org
The recent Olympic Qualifying Tournaments berthing four national teams into the approaching Olympic Games brushed off most initial predictions regarding the sides booking a last-minute ticket to Tokyo. In its case, the Czech Republic actually lost to Turkey but bounced back with three wins in a row to clinch Olympic-awarding first place at Victoria, Canada.
“We made the dream come true for our national team,” pointed out Tomas Satoransky following the win against Greece last Sunday, “It means so much to us and I’m so proud of the team and what they did today. This goes to our team and all our fans.”
The Czech Republic captain has been leading on the court for the senior national team in major international tournaments since 2013. He previously played in all junior national teams as well. His loyalty has been paying off big time with consecutive landmark achievements.
Going to Tokyo
His side was not the favorite to win the Victoria OQT. That belonged to the hosts Canada most fans believed had the necessary firepower to get the job done. Greece and Turkey also seemed to carry more weapons. However, these tournaments featuring several key games in a limited time period have favored units packing experience of playing together in the past. Certainly a great fit for the Czechs.
Losing the opener versus Turkey failed to shake Ronen Ginzburg’s players. A late miss by Jayson Granger allowed them to hold on against Uruguay and to stay alive and advance the next round. Satoransky poured 19 points in that key game but held the magic for the next fixture.
The Czech Republic controlled Canada up to the final minute of regulation in the semifinals affair. A double-digit point advantage vanished in the last minute as the hosts forced five extra minutes. The momentum was lost despite them leading comfortably for large stretches, but Satoransky banking the game-winner off the glass near the end of overtime eventually proved enough for the W. He had 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists for the night.
On to the game to determine which side is going to Tokyo, the Czech Republic outplayed Greece wrapping up its latest successful FIBA tournament with an Olympic Games berth. Satoransky registered 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
Through the coronavirus era, it is easy to lose track of time with sports events shifting to unusual dates. It seems longer, but it has only been two years since the Czech Republic ranked sixth in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The Olympic Games will be the first for the country under its own flag, since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, but the same went for the World Cup.
Satoransky made his senior debut during the qualifiers of the 2009 EuroBasket before turning 18 moving to Spain at the club level. His first abroad experience lasting from 2009 to 2016 led him to European powerhouse FC Barcelona and from there to the NBA in 2016. Meanwhile, he was selected with the 32nd overall pick of the 2012 NBA draft. Plenty of eventful summers there, but none made him miss one single date with the national team since 2013.
The Czech Republic relying on a steady group of players is a theme earning more and more recognition as solid showings pile up, but Satoransky is the only player having appeared in the recent OQT and the 2019 World Cup, plus the 2013, 2015, and 2017 editions of EuroBasket. Even head coach Ginzburg surfaced later taking over after the 2013 EuroBasket.
From failing to qualify to the final stage of the 2009 EuroBasket to the crowning achievement of making it to the Olympic Games one decade and change later. It is indeed a dream come true for Satoransky and Czech Republic basketball fans.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL