The Lithuanian U16 National Team won the Silver Medal in Kaunas last summer. Now this same generation tries to be as successful on the next level but our Lithuanian author is not that optimistic about their possibilities.
Lithuania U17 comes to Hamburg with high expectations, but lacking two of their key players. Tauras Jogela, the MVP of last years U16 European Championship, and Ignas Ramasauskas, starting center of last years team, are out due to injuries. Some other guys – like Tomas Lekunas and Simonas Kymantas, also were in and out of the lineup due to injuries, but they are going to WC.
After all these problems, Lithuanians struggled in friendly games. They lost all 3 matches in Poland to the hosts, then couldn’t find winning ways in Kaunas, when they lost to Russia’s U18 and USA U17.
All of those opponents were strong teams so one cannot say Lithuanians will be beaten easily in World Championship. However, it’s not a top caliber team as well.
Lithuanians struggle the most in the paint. Ramasauskas was not very effective last year as well, but his length definitely helped. This time around they will have to rely on Laimonas Chatkevicius (2m08) and Simonas Kymantas (2m04) who are not offensive threats at all.
The holes under the basket were most seen in a game against athletic Americans. Lithuanians allowed too many offensive rebounds, the shots were blocked on numerous occasions.
Coach Dikcius says that his team learned from those losses but he is not trusted 100 percent here in Lithuania. He was sacked from Aisciai Kaunas last year, as team hit bottom in LKL.
Last years team, that was the runner up in U16 European championship, was on the brink of elimination after 2 group games but put it together when Dikcius’ assistant, Paulius Juodis, reportedly took over.
The same problems from last year – poor playmaking and rebounding remain. Meanwhile things that were the fuel of this team last year – Jogela and home crowd – will not be around this time.
Dikcius says the aim is to be among 4 top countries in WC. Our gut says making quarterfinals would be tops for this team.
written by Jonas Miklovas
Official Roster for Lithuania
Paulius Semaška – 1m79 – Guard – 1993 – Kedainiu
Martynas Paliukėnas – 1m78 – Guard – 1993 – Sarunas Marciulonis BA
Aurimas Urbonas – 1m95 – Forward – 1993 – LZUU
Simonas Lekys – 1m80 – Guard – 1993 – Sarunas Marciulonis BA
Mantas Mockevičius – 1m86 – Guard – 1993 – Lietuvos Rytas
Tomas Lekūnas – 1m95 – Forward – 1993 – Akademija
Rokas Narkevičius – 1m93 – Forward – 1993 – Aisciai
Aurimas Majauskas – 1m99 – Forward – 1993 – Matinga
Osvaldas Olisevičius – 1m96 – Forward – 1993 – Akademija
Marijus Užupis – 1m97 – Forward – 1993 – M.Kadis
Simonas Kymantas – 2m04 – Center – 1993 – Sabonis BA
Jonas Miklovas is the Editor in chief for www.BasketNews.lt, one of the leading basketball websites in Lithuania.