KLAIPEDA (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) – The newly-appointed Lithuania boss Dainius Adomaitis was his usual calm and composed self after finding out the national team’s opponents in FIBA EuroBasket 2017.
Drawn into the Tel-Aviv based Group B alongside the likes of Italy, Germany, Georgia, Ukraine and the hosts Israel, the play-caller stayed away from loud declarations, opting for a cautious wait-and-see approach.
The country’s new man-in-charge could not attend the draw in Istanbul himself, with club obligations for Neptunas Klaipeda in the Basketball Champions League.
Instead, Adomaitis watched the proceedings live on his phone during the short trip from the hotel to the Ventspils Olympic Centre, where his team took on Latvian club Ventspils on Tuesday evening.
Lithuania already knew it would play in Tel-Aviv even before the draw, as Israel chose the Baltic country as its partner for FIBA EuroBasket 2017 last month.
“Judging by the results of the previous championships, I can say that we landed in a tough group. But we will only be able to assess the situation in more depth in the summer, when it becomes clear who will be on the respective rosters,” said Adomaitis, speaking of the national side’s opponents after the draw.
However, the draw did bring along one unintended inconvenience to Lithuania’s summer plans, which featured preparation games against the Georgian national team.
“We’ll now have to rearrange some things regarding our friendly games, so we don’t play with teams that will be in our group,” Adomaitis explained.
Appointed to fill the shoes of the country’s long-time head coach Jonas Kazlauskas only a month ago, the 42-year-old Neptunas head coach has already immersed himself into his new duties by reaching out to national team players and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It is the Lithuanian national team we are talking about. Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to win medals for their country. It is a great honour both for the players and for the coaching staff. There is no need to question the enthusiasm and investment of everyone involved,” said Adomaitis. “The most important thing now is for everyone to be healthy and to have certainty regarding their own future, contracts in hand.”
Juggling both club and country will not be an easy task for Adomaitis, but the play-caller says he’s ready for the challenge: “I love basketball. You can’t do the job you don’t like. And I like mine. I don’t know, I just can’t imagine that things could be any different than that.”