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Mar
33

On the demise of Lithuanian Basketball

Jasikevicius: The long-term leader

BallinEurope is not exactly sure what led our man in Lithuania, the enigmatic Y., to contemplate the fortunes of his country’s national team … but who are we to question a Lietuva hometowner when it comes to basketball? Y. goes back eight years to figure out where things went so terribly wrong and unfortunately finds little hope for Team Lithuania’s future – even with the likes of Jonas Valančiūnas and Donatas Motiejūnas aboard…

Underachievement of a previous generation
The 2004 Olympic Games were a huge disappointment for Lithuania. As EuroBasket 2003 champions, the team was one of main favourites for silver (the fall of the “Dream Team” was still unimaginable). Lithuania, however, that year finished fourth: one step short of the prize it had collected in every Olympiad since the country’s independence.

This was the beginning of the demise of what was a top national team in the world. Players’ refusal to participate, retirements, injuries and an underachieving new generation – all these aspects contributed to Lithuania’s fall from basketball superpower levels to status as a regional great, capable of reaching a medal stage in the right circumstances.

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Apr
0

Eurocup Championship: Unics Kazan master plan coming to fruition

Better late than never, as the old expression goes; and in the case of Unics Kazan’s 2010-11 season, continuing to achieve late could prove much better in the medium- and long-term future.

Few teams so actively rebuilt and retooled with purpose last offseason as Unics Kazan, bringing aboard Slavko Vranes out of Partizan Belgrade, 2009-10 Euroleague/FIBA Worlds sensation Kelly McCarty, and Zakhar Pashutin from Spartak St. Petersburg, among others while ensuring key big man Maciej Lampe would stick around for another couple seasons.

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