ImageEUROLEAGUE’S RISING STAR: Martynas Gecevicius is a quite common name for those who regularly follow the international youth basketball tournaments.

The 1988 born Lithuanian made the U18 Eurobasket all tournament first team in 2006, alongside tournament MVP Nicolas Batum, Miroslav Raduljica – a member of the Eurobasket 2009 Serbian senior squad – , Valencia’s Victor Claver, and a countryman of Gecevicius, playmaker Zygimantas Janavicius, who Lithuanian fans hope will have his breakthrough this season or the next. Gecevicius scored only 13 points in 95 EuroCup minutes last season, shooting 3 of 23 from three point range. Is his production this current season a surprise? Considering his youth team performances: no. But it is a true breakout year.

As for Gecevicius’ game, I have to correct myself a bit after having watched three of his four Euroleague performances so far: He can create against tough defense, he is the real deal. Gecevicius is a little bit undersized for a two, he is an able passer curling off the baseline screen as well as running the pick and roll, so why doesn’t he play the point guard position? The answer is, A) while his ballhandling is fairly decent for a two guard, it is not elite level, so he might have – and has had in the past – a bit of trouble bringing the ball upcourt against heavy pressure. B) His qualities might be wasted a bit, since he is really efficient coming off the baseline screen. The best option is to play him at off guard, run shooter plays for him, but also involve him in pick and roll situations. Think Juan Carlos Navarro, for example.

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