Jõesaar: If I cannot get on the court, I see no reason to stay in Manresa

Janari Jõesaar.
Janari Jõesaar. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonian national men's basketball team forward Janari Jõesaar joined Spanish top-level Liga ACB team Manresa in June but has not cracked the regular rotation in the time since. The frustrated ball player does not rule out leaving the club mid-season.

Jõesaar said his hands are itching for the ball in meaningful situations, such as the European basketball qualifiers stage, set to take place in Tallinn this weekend.

"I would love to play and show what I am capable of. I have not been given that opportunity in Spain too often," Jõesaar told Estonian journalists at a virtual press conference on Thursday.

The 26-year old forward did not want to delve into reasons for the lack of playing time. "It is complicated to comment on that now. I think I will not go into the details here. We will see how things go from here and if they do," Jõesaar said.

He did not rule out leaving the club mid-season: "I will certainly try to make my season better. If this continues, I see no reason to be there."

Considering the situation worldwide, it is not simple to be away from home. "It is not easy. To be at a far-away land and this coronavirus... The city is basically on lockdown. There is not much to do and that has been tough mentally. But I think I have handled it so far and will continue to do so," Jõesaar noted.

Estonian basketball "bubble" environment

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced on October 8 that Tallinn would be the host city for a closed, NBA-style "bubble" environment, set up to host European championships group B qualifying matches this weekend.

250 spectators will be allowed into the Saku Suurhall closed environment.

FIBA's plan was to have four to eight teams in the one city, to enable them to play all their remaining qualifying matches at once. Along with the decision to have one "bubble" environment in Tallinn, Valencia, Vilnius, Istanbul, Espoo, Ljubljana, Pau (France) and Sarajevo will host qualifying matches in November.

Estonia, who currently sits second in group B with one win and one loss, will play the rest of their opening qualifying matches against North Macedonia and Russia.

Two arrived Russian basketball players have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently in isolation. One player was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus after an initial round of testing and repeat testing showed an unclear sample for him and another team member, which according to Estonian rules is counted as COVID-19.

Saku Suurhall, not Disney World

The "bubble" idea derives from the final stage and play-offs in the 2020 NBA season in the U.S., where twenty-two teams were invited to an isolation zone hosted by Disney World Florida.

The "bubble" sees extensive coronavirus alleviation measures being put into place, with daily testing and secure entry to the isolation zone ensured.

The "bubble" was proven to be extremely effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Leading up to the resumption of play on July 30, there were two consecutive weeks where zero players testing positive for COVID-19.

The closed environment led to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers claim their 17th NBA championship, defeating the Jimmy Butler led Miami Heat team in six games.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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