Lithuanian club Rudupis Prienai will make its European debut next season. The team that was playing in the second division just a couple of years ago hopes to get a spot in Eurocup.
Rudupis won NKL (second division in Lithuania) in 2009 and earned a place in the country’s top flight. The club finished 7th in the regular season which was enough to qualify for the playoffs. Rudupis then faced Zalgiris and was knocked-out.
The second season in LKL was much more successful for the team from Prienai, a town with the population of less than 11,000. Rudupis ended regular season in 3rd place and eventually swept Juventus 3-0 to claim its first ever LKL bronze.
It was the first time in 8 years that the third place was taken by team other than Siauliai.
In addition to success in LKL, Rudupis also managed to finish third in LKF Cup and was close to upsetting Zalgiris in the semi-final.
Third place finish in LKL meant that the team qualified to Eurocup. However, for a team to participate in Eurocup an arena with the capacity of at least 3,000 is required. Even though a new gym is being built for the new season in Prienai it will only have the capacity a bit over 1,000.
According to kvitrina.lt, the management of Rudupis are determined to take the team to Eurocup next season and already sent an application to ULEB and paid the requried amount of money.
Rudupis still hopes to be allowed to play in Prienai in the new arena by expanding its capacity to more than 2,000 which would not be enough according to Eurocup rules.
In case the answer is negative, there are two options available for Rudupis. The team could play its Eurocup home games in either Alytus or Kaunas (Alytus arena or Kaunas Sports Hall accordingly).
The club is negotiating with the players and will try to keep most of the roster from last season which was all-Lithuanian.