“It was wonderful. I’ve always heard stories about how great Lithuanian fans are, but now, when I saw it in reality, an indescribable feeling came over me, shivers went through my body,” 23-year-old I. Brazdeikis described his first impressions at the championship.
In the first match of the tournament against Slovenia (85:92), 23-year-old I. Brazdeikis could hardly contain his excitement. The basketball player who got up from the bench had a clear mission – to stop Lukas Dončičius.
However, the Slovenian scored 14 points, made 10 assists and collected 17 utility points in the match. However, L. Dončičius’ constant conversations with match referees and questionable fouls against himself attracted the most attention.
“Obviously, some of the judges’ decisions were questionable. Superstars like Luka always get discounts. But we can’t focus too much on that because we don’t influence the work of the judges. We need to focus on what we can control,” explained the basketball player.
I. Brazdeikis himself scored in the Slovenian basket in 15 minutes. scored 8 points, rebounded 4 balls and collected 8 utility points.
True, during the match, the basketball player received a sharp retort from coach Kazis Maksvytis: “Don’t respect him.”
“I used it as motivation. Emotions are often at an all-time high when a match like this takes place. I don’t take anything personally, everyone wants to win, that’s normal”, I.Brazdeikis explained the situation.
Before the match against the French, the basketball player openly told what led to the poor start of the championship, shared his impressions about the backstage of the championship and the waiting opponent.
– Ignatius, what was wrong in the match with Slovenia?, I. Brazdeikis was asked.
– I think relaxation in both defense and attack. We had a few moments where we didn’t follow the game plan. We conceded too many points with quick attacks. I think it is necessary to concentrate more, to be a team when things are not going well. However, I think we will recover, it’s only the first game of the championship. Everything will be fine.
– What was the most difficult thing when playing against L. Dončičić?
– I can’t single out anything. But he is one of the best. I don’t want to talk about just one player, you have to look more broadly.
– Many NBA stars came to the championship. Is their game in Europe different from how they play in the NBA?
– Yes, different basketball is played here. One of the main things is that there is much less space here. The NBA game is simpler, many tactics are used in Europe.
– Were you surprised by the attention paid to the players at the European Championship?
– All this is new to me. Maybe it’s a bit like the NCAA March Madness game, because everything takes place in one arena, many teams. I am enjoying every moment, this is the first such tournament for me. I’m still learning how to manage my emotions.
– The end of the training cycle was not the best for you. You also had problems in the match against the Slovenians. How do you survive such moments?
– I’m studying. I watch the records, analyze what I did wrong and what I did well. You have to stay focused and keep working. That’s all, you need to forget the bad moments.
– What challenges await you in the fight against the French?
– They are tall, they have good throwers, they are athletic. It is necessary to successfully return to the defense and stop the quick attacks of the opponents.