Lithuanian national basketball team faces first tests for EuroBasket 2017

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-05 10:51:36|Editor: ying
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VILNIUS, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Lithuanian national men's basketball team started on Friday a series of friendly matches to prepare for the European basketball championship slated for later this month.

After two weeks of training, Lithuanian basketball team faces its first exam on Friday in a friendly match with Polish team. Before leaving for EuroBasket 2017, the Lithuanian team is to play Georgian, Latvian, Croatian, French, Romanian, Spanish basketball teams.

The Lithuanian team's candidate lineup from 18 players includes long-playing members, young players and some already forgotten faces, according to the Lithuanian Basketball Federation. Mantas Kalnietis, 30-year point guard from EA7 Emporio Armani Milano, will lead the team as the captain.

The NBA league will be represented by 25-year old Jonas Valanciunas, center from Toronto Raptors, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, 27-year small forward from New York Knicks, and 26-year Donatas Motiejunas, center and power forward from New Orleans Pelicans.

Among potential leaders of the Lithuanian national team is Jonas Maciulis, 32-year-old small forward. Long-year member of the national team currently is a member of Real Madrid.

The key changes happened at the helm of the team. EuroBasket 2017 will be a debut tournament for Dainius Adomaitis, 43 year-old, who is viewed as a promising coach from the new generation.

Adomaitis has won bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics while playing for the Lithuania's national team.

Last October, Adomaitis, a former professional basketball player and the former head coach of Lithuanian club Neptunas, was appointed as the new head coach of Lithuanian national team following the departure of Jonas Kazlauskas.

Kazlauskas, the long time head coach of the national team and the former head coach of Chinese national team, decided to leave Lithuania after his contract had expired after Rio Olympics.

"So far, everything goes according to a plan. Most importantly, we completed our outdoor training, adjusted physical preparation for most of our players," Adomaitis told the news website before his debut match as the head coach of the national team.

The strategists at Lithuania's national team aim to shape the team's play at the European basketball championship as "universal, as well as creative and improvising".

Benas Matkevicius, international basketball scout and one of the strategists at the team's coach staff, told news website, this year's national team will play different basketball as compared to the previous team.

"More open, with more freedom for improvisation. There will be a lot of versatility, player rotation between positions," said Matkevicius.

Lithuania won silver medal at EuroBasket 2015.