“Do not give up”: the unusual path of itisemaitis towards the Lithuanian basketball team / News

In 2020, August 13th. Kristupas Žemaitis contracts with Alytus “Dzūkija”. More than two years later, in August 2022, itisemaitis learned that he would represent Lithuania at the European Championships.

Remember that soon Žemaitis is not needed for Antanas Sireikas in uliauliai, does the current achievement sound like an American dream?

However, the offensive player still keeps himself normal. Although Kazys Maksvytis confirmed to reporters on Tuesday the defender’s journey to the title, reinforcing the amazing progress of Žemaitis, the basketball player has been burned several times and is awaiting an official start at Cologne.

“Feelings are the best,” itisemaitis told BasketNews. – I always thought the chances of reaching the top 12 were 50 to 50, but I try not to burden those ideas. I was just trying to do what the team needed – to play ball press. Kazys decided he would bring in three strikers, the feeling was great, but he did not want to be happy too soon because karma is merciless. Then it will happen that you are sick or injured … you want to wait for the championship to start “

And itisemaitis may have appeared for the first time with the Lithuanian national team jersey in the official match a little earlier, but it was first prevented by COVID-19, then by the wedding celebration.

It seems Žemaičius, who came to the training camp with no experience in the national team, will put his foot down in search of a place in the 12th place. Especially when the main rival, Tomas Dimša, is one of the leaders in the selection window.

“Yes, Tom has a lot of experience, he knows the whole system. When I missed two windows, it was really frustrating because I had the opportunity to appear first and get directions. In the end, I pushed the bad thoughts aside, fate put everything instead. I was involved in organizing from the beginning to gather information and try to keep up with the veteran national team. Many candidates are not on the list, so I did not write myself off. I never thought I was just training, my appetite increased without eating anything, ”Žemaitis teaches.

Despite the actual competition for a place in the national team with Dimša, the basketball players did not feel opposition. In contrast, the two defenders, who graduated from A. Sabonis Basketball Center, did not shy away from helping each other in training.

“Personally, I do not feel it. I have always supported Tomas, – Žemaitis replied when asked if he did not feel there was competition between them in training. You want to join the national team by showing yourself, not because of the failure of your opponents. There is no opposition. I listened to Tom and me when I needed to move to the defensive position, he volunteered to help me. “There really was no conflict and we wished each other success.”

Žemaitis’ path to the national team is quite unusual and could be an example for many Lithuanian basketball players who were initially excluded.

Two years ago Žemaitis rejected “Šiauliai” and LKL offered him a contract then only “Dzūkija”. It is hard to believe that such a seemingly flawless contract with a LKL outsider could turn a basketball player’s career down.

The 192-cm-tall defender played a successful season at Alytus, and after averaging 16.4 points in the summer, he received a call from Nenad Čanaks and an invitation to “Lietkabelis” in Panevėžys.

And here it was another successful season, defying the authorities in the European Championships, and Žemaitis first signed a professional contract with the “Wolves” and then received the best rating from the coaching staff of the national team. Tunisia, which reflects his progress.

In two years – from the road to Matus Juciks or Modest Paulauskas Select and roll Rotation with NBA Tower. Can Kristupas himself understand what is going on in his career?

“It’s really great that things turned out in two years. I remember in the summer of 2020, after the COVID season, I was interrupted until mid-August without a team and only one. Believe it or not, “Dzūkija” itisemaitis told BasketNews. – I decided I was going to play or nothing would happen. I got stuck and then I went to “Lietkabelis” with a great coach with great teammates. And the European Cup.

A good example of not giving up too quickly. I’m not young anymore, I am 26 years old but I have always believed that I can achieve the goals I set for myself and I am glad I did. “But I do not want this to be the end of the search, because there is no limit to improvement.”

And the fact that the 26-year-old striker, who put in a lot of work over the summer, has plenty of room for improvement, Žemaitis “Wolves” future coach Aurimas Jasilionis has no doubts in an interview with BasketNews. .

Although Jasilionis will not be surprised by Žemaitis’s entry into the Euroleague, the player himself is still on the ground – he has left his dream to open the door to his hometown club and look only at the next training session.

Eemaitis replied when asked if his goal was to enter the Euroleague, “Euroleague is a completely different animal.” – I try not to look too far ahead, I think about the next training session and I try not to stop improving. Of course the Euroleague … even though I could represent my hometown club “Žalgiris”, it was amazing. “But I do not want to rush. We have to take a step back and maybe we will finally be able to open the Euroleague.”

Itisemaitis, who averaged 4.8 points and 6 points to use in this summer’s friendly match for the Lithuanian national team, knows exactly what he needs to improve to take his career one step further.

“Every sector needs work, but I can distinguish two aspects of the game. Last year, I passed Channak School, a place that always needed protection. I know that at the highest level, if you do not defend, you do not play. I want to be a stable defender that the coach can trust. “In attack, the most important thing for the players of my position right now is the 1-on-1 game, when everyone changes defenses, so it is necessary to immediately improve the movement, the chaos.” Žemaitis taught.

Photo Irmantas Gelūnas / BNS

And with what expectations Žemaitis welcomes the European Championships?

“I’m going to be an 11-12 player, but I can not go with the attitude of a tourist. It does not matter how much the coach spends – for a minute or two I have to go to work,” Žemaitis said. – I need to keep my focus. As a team – we need to set the highest goals.

The team has a good atmosphere, everyone relaxes, but at the same time they really want to win. We believe in this team gathering Of the pitch Age players, good characters. Mutual chemistry will be an additional engine that will propel us forward during the championship in the youth team, Tom Purlys said, “We will win the gold medal.” “We also need to set ourselves the highest goals and we will see how it goes.”

The Lithuanian national team did not lose a single game in a friendly match, but it is difficult to assess the true ability of the national team, the opponents in August certainly do not remind those who are waiting for the first week of the month. Miss.

Many questions will already be answered in the early days in Cologne. Slovenia, France and Germany are among the major medalists. And they will all be Lithuanian rivals at the start of the European Championships.

What do Lithuanian basketball players themselves think about the organization and schedule of the national team for the European Championships?

“For now, we do not look far. Yes, the future rivals, the European elites, certainly have something to do. We will prepare, maybe we did not take the most serious test, but our plus is that we played more friendly matches than others, we will feel the rhythm. “France, Slovenia, Germany are top-level national teams, but it makes it even more interesting, we ourselves are very curious about how we will look at them,” Žemaitis concluded.

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