Kleiza gets the call

National head coach Kestutis Kemzura has released his list of 18 candidates who could be suiting up for Team Lithuania in the 2012 Olympic qualifiers and beyond. On paper at least, the selection looks pretty good – particularly compared to the Eurobasket 2011 version of the team which included a single true no. 3 after a few early injuries took their toll. The squad includes four players from Lietuvos Rytas and five currently with Zalgiris Kaunas; among the lot, too, are five others from 2011-12 Euroleague teams and one (yes, Linas is back) from the NBA.

Notable exclusions include Darius Songalia plus Kšyštof and Darjus Lavrinovič; Songalia’s spot on the preliminary roster was filled with Mindaugas Katelynas of Lietuvos Rytas, while CSKA Moscow head coach Jonas Kazlauskas reportedly wanted Darjus to stay home and rest up this summer anyway.

On board is the young sensation Canada wants to see in Jonas Valanciunas; returning after absences in the 2011 FIBA tourney are Linas Kleiza and Jonas Maciulis; and, though he’s been remarkably tight-lipped about yet another return to the national team, good ol’ Sarunas Jasikevicius is penciled in as well.

Below runs the prospective 18; how do you like Lietuva’s chances?

Guards
Šarūnas Jasikevičius (Panathinaikos)
Mantas Kalnietis (Žalgiris Kaunas)
Renaldas Seibutis (Lietuvos Rytas)
Martynas Gecevičius (Olympiacos)
Rimantas Kaukėnas (Montepaschi Siena)
Martynas Pocius (Real Madrid)
Tomas Delininkaitis (Žalgiris)
Deividas Dulkys (Florida State University)

Forwards
Linas Kleiza (Toronto Raptors)
Jonas Mačiulis (Baltai Kaunas)
Mindaugas Kuzminskas (Žalgiris)
Artūras Jomantas (Lietuvos Rytas)
Simas Jasaitis (Turk Telekom)
Donatas Motiejūnas (Asseco Prokom)
Mindaugas Katelynas (Lietuvos Rytas)
Paulius Jankūnas (Žalgiris)

Centers
Jonas Valančiūnas (Lietuvos Rytas)
Robertas Javtokas (Žalgiris)

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