The 2003 Eurobasket champion Lithuania has been among the top three national teams in Europe over the years, and despite missing a group of key players, the Lithuanians are looking to preserve their status in this year’s tournament in Poland.
A recent win over Spain might serve as a nice confidence-booster before the tip off versus Turkey on Monday. Lithuania came out as 94-72 in front of a packed and fired up crowd of eleven thousand at Siemens Arena in Vilnius.
Overlook: Lithuania will be without three key players in Poland: Sarunas Jasikevicius [Panathinaikos Athens], Rimantas Kaukenas [Real Madrid], and Ramunas Siskauskas [CSKA Moscow] are all taking a summer off after tiring club seasons. Unfortunately for coach Butautas and his men, the first is a pure point guard, the second is a combo guard, and the latter can be classyfied as a point forward for Lithuania, considering his ballhandling abilities and his past roles in the Lithuanian team, which saw him helping out on the point guard position. Redundand to mention, Jasikevicius and Siskauskas are elite players on the European level, while Kaukenas isn’t far behind, as his move to Ettore Messina’s Real Madrid proves. One could even cound Arvydas Macijauskas [Olympiacos Piraeus] as a key absentee, however, he’s been injured for so long, I almost forgot how he plays basketball. Until I re-watched his first half scoring spree in the 2004 Olympic Games semis versus Italy.
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