- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2011

NEWARK, N.J. — As he stood outside the interview room just moments after being drafted by the Washington Wizards at No. 6, a slight smile formed across Jan Vesely’s face.

“I’m more nervous now than I was yesterday,” said Vesely, who found out the Wizards were going to select him about five minutes before we went on stage.

“Basketball in my country is not so popular, but after this night, I think, I hope that basketball will be more popular. I will do my best to help that.”

Vesely likes to run, which he says makes him a good fit with guard John Wall.

“I think we can work hard to win games. I will do my best, of course, and I am ready to go to the Wizards,” Vesely said.

As Vesely went through his round of post-draft media interviews, Chris Singleton sat in the green room and waited. And waited. Finally, he was the only one left. But when the Wizards called his name at No. 18, Singleton felt he had landed in just the right place.

“This is something I was made for; something I dreamed about,” Singleton said about basketball.

“Not a lot of people get to do what I do on an everyday basis, and not a lot of people get to have this experience. I’m just glad I had it.”

The 6-foot-9 forward from Florida State averaged 13 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. He credits his college coach, former Wizards coach Leonard Hamilton, with helping him develop a defensive mindset.

“You’ve got to dictate on the defensive end. You can’t always let the offensive player just get where he wants,” Singleton said. “That, and you’ve got to scout teams.”

He hopes for the opportunity to learn from the current Wizards and believes that building camaraderie with his new teammates is the first step. After his workout with Washington, Singleton thought he could go as early as the sixth pick, but said he thinks that Vesely was a good pick for “our team.”

“We can contribute a lot to this franchise,” Singleton said. “We’re both long and athletic and quick. I feel like right off the bat, we can contribute a lot to the team.”

The Wizards took a chance hoping Singleton would fall to 18, something that surprised him as well.

“There were 15 teams that passed on me. I’m going to mark them off,” Singleton said.

Singleton believes the strong defensive presence he will bring to the Wizards will make him an ideal addition to the team.

Apparently, the Wizards agreed.

“They [the Wizards coaches] said they liked my overall game, and they saw what I’m capable of doing,” Singleton said. “I will bring my defense. I am glad I was chosen by the Wizards.

“I can be in Washington by tomorrow.”

With their third pick of the night, the 34th overall, the Wizards drafted Shelvin Mack, a 6-foot-2 guard from Butler. Mack is a combo guard, capable of playing the one or the two, but is a better fit at shooting guard.

Last season Mack averaged 16 points, 3.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. Mack was Butler’s second leading scorer during a stellar season that saw the team make its second straight NCAA championship appearance. During the tournament, Mack averaged 20.3 points per gme.

Mack was named to the second team All Horizon League last season, and was voted the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Southeast Regional tournament.

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