MINSK (EuroBasket 2013/2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup) - The Czech Republic haven't had the best of times since coming up short of EuroBasket 2009.
The team not only failed to qualify for the Final Round in Poland, but also suffered relegation.
They ended up missing out on EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania as well.
Home to some fine young talent, the Czechs have been playing all summer like they’re ready to return to the elite and take up their spot in next year's 24-team EuroBasket in Slovenia.
That is true even without Jan Vesely of the Washington Wizards, who had a very good rookie year in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season but decided not to make himself available for national team duty this summer.
After rolling to victory after victory in the preparations for the EuroBasket Qualification Round, the team recorded a 73-65 win at Belarus on Wednesday night.
There was no Vesely, yet there were other promising youngsters, including Tomás Satoransky.
The 32nd overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards earlier this summer after a solid season at Sevilla in Spain's Liga Endesa, Satoransky came up an assist shy of a double-double against Belarus.
He finished with 12 points, nine assists and four rebounds.
Another of the young guns the Czechs have high expectations for, David Jelinek, poured in 16 points.
There is a lot of optimism in the Czech Republic about the men's team, and one reason why has been the presence of veterans Jiri Welsch and Lubos Barton in the squad.
Welsch, a former player in the NBA, contributed 12 points and Barton had a team-high nine rebounds to go with his six points.
Instead of getting carried away with the victory, Welsch showed why he is so important to the Czech squad.
He knows they can play better and probably must play better if they are going to realize their aim of a qualifying for next year's EuroBasket.
"Of course, it's a valuable victory on the opponents' court," he said.
"I dare say that after the six preliminary games, though, it was probably our weakest performance on offense.
"We didn't create very good shooting positions, but on the other hand, we have won with good defense, especially at the end of the game.
"The Belarusians tried to dominate us physically but finally we managed to deal with it."
The Czechs will only be stronger if they qualify for Slovenia and Vesely returns.
Czech coach Pavel Budinsky is attempting to steer the team to a top-two finish in Group F to seal a place at the EuroBasket.
Should the side finish as one of the four best third-place teams, they will also clinch a place in Slovenia.
He was all smiles after the win over Belarus.
"For us, it was definitely a very important first step," he said.