Even the most casual Euroleague fan is familiar with Jan Vesely and his high-flying blocked shots and dunks by now. The player known as "The Czech Helicopter" has become a regular presence on highlight reels ever since he signed with Fenerbahce Istanbul two summers ago. But for Fenerbahce fanatics, Vesely is much more than an exciting player to watch: he stands at the forefront of the team's surge into the Turkish Airlines Euroleague's true elite.
This season, before he was sidelined with an injury three weeks before the playoffs, Vesely ranked first among Fenerbahce's players in rebounds and minutes played, second in performance index rating and third in scoring. His two seasons with Fenerbahce have been the best of Vesely's Euroleague career, but more important than his stellar numbers has been his overall effect on the team's confidence. When big plays are needed, his teammates and coaches know that Vesely is ready to provide them. A vocal and emotional leader on and off the court, Vesely played a major role in helping Fenerbahce change its fortunes and reach the Euroleague Final Four in consecutive seasons.
Vesely was very young when he left home to start a career. He played his first professional minutes for Geoplin Slovan in the Slovenian capital before moving to Partizan Belgrade, where he started to make a name for himself. In 2010, Vesely helped carry Partizan to its first Euroleague Final Four appearance in more than a decade. After spending three years in the NBA, Vesely returned to Europe with Fenerbahce, where he quickly become a fan favorite thanks to his explosive plays and willingness to leave everything he has on the court, game after game.
At 26 years old, Vesely is playing the best basketball of his career, so there is every reason to believe that even better days are ahead for him and his club. Fenerbahce fans in Berlin are hoping that he is fully recovered from his recent injury and those better days start with an assault on the Euroleague throne at the 2015 Final Four!