The team assembled by Kazis Maksvytis beat the Estonians, Finns and Spaniards twice during the marathon of control matches, and on Friday they managed to beat the Dutch, who are preparing for the European Championship, 94:68.
Now, before the European Basketball Championship Group B matches in the German city of Cologne, which will start on September 1st, our national team still has to wait for the FIBA 2023 World Championship qualifiers: on August 23rd, an away match against Hungary and three days later in Vilnius, a match against Montenegro.
“We are climbing the steps towards the most important competition,” said J. Valančiūnas, captain of the national team and member of the “New Orleans Pelicans” team, after the victory against the Netherlands.
One of the leaders of the national team, who is 213 tall, scored a three-pointer in the Dutch basket on Friday and scored 14 points and rebounded 8 balls in almost 18 minutes.
– The emotions of control and official matches are always different?, J. Valančiūnas was asked
– We love basketball and there is no big difference whether it is a friendly match or an official match of the tournament. You play one hundred percent, you want to win, you don’t care what rank you fight at all.
– Domantas Sabonis assures about the team’s competition and preparation that everything is “really good”, while Rokas Jokubaitis believes that there is nothing impressive in the team’s game or training so far. How is it really?
– Maybe they do something different in training and competitions (laughs).
– National teams of other countries played 3-4 control matches each. And Lithuania chose the format of even seven friendly confrontations. Do you think this is the right choice?
– We will see after the championship how it will be – right or wrong. I say, we trained, we played all seven control matches, now we had to concentrate, because important matches are coming.
– Attempts are being made to compare the preparations of the national teams for the European Championship for this moment. Lithuania is compared with Slovenes or Serbs. In your opinion, can you put these teams on the shelves?
– Maybe we take it and yet we don’t compare anything. okay? We’re being ourselves – we’re going to be as prepared as possible for the fights, we’re going to bring everything we’ve got to the matches, we’re going to play with all our strength and everything will be fine. And you won’t have to compare anything.
– Both basketball players and specialists have recently divided into certain camps – some talk about medals, others – about difficult and unsuccessful battles in the championships. What does the national team captain himself think about the European Basketball Championship?
– I think that there is a flight to Cologne on a certain day, I have to be there. Get on the plane. And how it will be in the championship – we’ll see. Anyway, the main task for today is to prepare for matches as best as possible and enjoy basketball.
– The famous swimmer Rūta Meilutytė has said that the desperate pursuit of a result can prevent success – the most important thing is how you enjoy the process itself, the pursuit of the goal itself.
– Yes, it is important. To this day, the members of the national team are doing what they do best – playing basketball. And he gives them pleasure.
On the other hand, I don’t think that in this case, the achievement or the result is not an important factor – we go basically with the highest goals, but enjoying the game is also necessary.