The contract extension of popular Zalgiris coach Sarunas Jasikevicius is both good news for the club but also for basketball in Lithuania.

Jasikevicius signed a two-year contract with Zalgiris today (Friday) as he finished the season by guiding the EuroLeague side to their seventh consecutive Lithuanian league title.

The popular 41-year international had been linked with a move away from the homeland. Barcelona, one of Jasikevicius’ old teams seemed to be the most talked about destinations for him, but Sito Alonso, who was at the helm of Baskonia last term has since taken that position.

The announcement that Jasikevicius renewed his contract mere hours after Alonso’s deal was perfect timing and Zalgiris fans breathed a sigh of relief.

Sarunas Jasikevicius came straight into the coaching hot seat with Zalgiris following his retirement as a player in 2014. He started as an assistant and became head coach in 2016.

But even if you are not a Zalgiris supporter, the news of Jasikevicius staying in Kaunas will shift the focus away from disgraced Lietuvos Rytas president Gedvydas Vainauskas, who made racist remarks towards his team’s black players.

It put the Vilnius side, and Lithuanian hoops in a negative light, but hopefully news of Jasikevicius’ contract extension, roughly 100km along the Balkan nation will change that until Vainauskas is properly punished for his comments.