A lesson about Lithuanian basketball!
I am very interested in Lithuanian basketball. Remembering the glorydays with stars like Arvidas Sabonis and (Raimondas) Šarūnas Marčiulionis gives me goosebumps. It also makes me wondering 'How come a small country like Lithuania is able to be on top of the world?' Clubs can buy good players, countries have to make them. Are the people from the NBB paying attention to this information!?!
BC Šiauliai is, according to Wikipedia, the number 3 team of Lithuania. Since 1995 they are playing in European cupleagues. For example the Korac cup. They have been number 3 of the Baltic league for 3 times. You can say they are performing well and solid for decades now. I assume it is because of training young players. But is that correct?
"Yes, BC Šiauliai is the number 3 team of Lithuania. Lietuvos Rytas en Žalgiris are the two big clubs in Lithuania. They are playing Euro league. We play in three competitions. The Lithuanian league, the Baltci league and Euro cup / Challenge cup.
Kids are starting with basketball at the age of 5. They are joining a basketballschool where they practise once, and sometimes twice, a day. Every city in Lithuania has got a basketballschool. In Šiauliai there are two.
We teach them how to play smart. We develop kids with fundamentals. They learn technical skills. It is not limited by position. The education is very allround. We do not say "You have to be under the boards!" or "You dribble te ball." Kids learn how to play at all positions."
I asked myself: wouldn't it be nice to sign a player who had his education in Lithuania? (A player who isn't good enough for Šiauliai but for sure good enough for the Dutch league.) Is that possible?
"That might be possible, yes. But in my opinion players have to perform at the highest level. If you want to improve you have to be challenged every practise and every game. I don't want to disrespect Dutch basketball but I think the Dutch league won't make my players good enough for my team. My point of view is that they should play for another team in Lithuania or in another European league." Like Germany? "For example, yes."